Ana Sortun’s Brine-Cured Grilled Pork Loin with Spanish Tomato Salsa

Although the pork must be cured overnight, this is a deceptively easy dish. Simply make the brine, add the pork and forget about it. The next day, about an hour before you’re ready to eat, make the salsa and voila, dinner’s on the table.

Serves 6.

1 quart cold water
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup kosher salt
1½ teaspoons whole black peppercorns
4 juniper berries
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 small onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, smashed
Pinch fennel seed

4- to 5-pound pork loin

½ red onion, finely minced
¼ fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Pinch of sugar
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 larger ripe red tomato, seeds and pulp discarded, remainder diced
1 small ripe yellow tomato, seeds and pulp discarded, remainder diced
½ cup small pitted green olives, left whole or halved
¼ cup capers, rinsed
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
½ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
½ to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ to 1 teaspoon black pepper

1. To make the brine: Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Transfer to a large glass or ceramic bowl and set aside to cool. When lukewarm, add the pork loin, cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours.

2. To make the salsa: Place the onion, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, and garlic in a large glass or ceramic bowl and set aside until the onions turn pink, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining salsa ingredients and set aside for up to 2 hours Do not refrigerate.

3. Prepare the grill.

4. To finish: Remove the pork from the brine, dry it well with a cloth towel, and trim off excess fat. Cut into 1-inch medallions, brush with the oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Place the medallions on the grill and cook until browned, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to heated plates and serve immediately accompanied by the Spanish Tomato Salsa.

Note: I tested this recipe on the night of a snowstorm and I couldn’t quite cozy up to the idea of grilling, so I pan-fried it on a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)