I was lucky enough, earlier this year, to be given a pot of red peppercorns by friends who had been travelling in Cambodia. Apparently, in the days before the Khmer Rouge ravaged the country, these peppercorns were highly valued by French chefs. Their cultivation has since undergone a renaissance and the Kampot Pepper (black, white and red) was the first Cambodian product to be given a protected geographical designation similar to that of, for instance, wines and cheeses.
They shouldn’t be confused with what we often call pink peppercorns, which confusingly aren’t a peppercorn at all but a dried berry from a type of mastic tree. The Cambodian version is a true peppercorn, one which has been left on the bush to ripen for longer than usual, making it particularly fragrant, fruity and spicy. They’re quite expensive and hard to get hold of in the UK so I’m duly honoured by Tim and Kate’s gift.
For the purposes of this recipe though, you can replace them with those mixed peppercorns you often find packaged up in grinders. This is perfect for a TGIF night when you’ve had a long week at work. The weekend starts here.
Pork Fillet with Citrus and Pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 tbsp red (or mixed) peppercorns, crushed
Pinch of salt
1 pork fillet (tenderloin), about 350g
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Butter for frying
Mix the ground pepper with the citrus zest and a pinch of salt and scatter it along the middle of a sheet of greaseproof paper. Trim the pork fillet and roll it in the mixture, coating well all over.
Cut the meat into rounds about 1/2 cm thick, space them out well, place another sheet of greaseproof paper on top and beat flat with a rolling pin or meat mallet. Sprinkle with some of the lemon juice. It will look like a lot of meat but these little medallions shrink in cooking.
Melt the butter in a pan and when it starts to brown cook the pork in batches. As soon as the edges begin to turn white, flip them over and do the other side. They’ll take a matter of minutes. Remove to a heated plate and cook the rest.
Squeeze any remaining lemon juice into the pan and de-glaze with hot water or a splash of dry sherry. Pour the sauce over the pork and serve straight away, while still hot and juicy. We ate them with a buttery, peppery, nutmeggy swede and carrot purée and Romanesco cauliflower.