Asian-inspired pork is ideal for grilling
Intro By Pam George
From the July 2020 issue
Nick Carr learned to cook by the time he was 10. “I was raised in a single-parent household, and in my house the rule was that if I didn’t like what Dad made for dinner, I could either make my own or go hungry,” says the Sussex County native.
While growing up at the beach, Carr also realized that being handy with a spatula or a cocktail shaker would guarantee him a job. “I already knew a little about cooking — and had at least some natural talent for it — so the choice was easy,” says Carr, who learned the basics of “old school cooking” from his grandmother.
He became adept at preparing fish after stints at Jake’s Seafood, Jerry’s Seafood and Fins Hospitality Group. But Carr is no one-trick chef. At Big Oyster Brewery, where he’s now the head chef, he works with a variety of proteins.
Downtime during the pandemic gave Carr a chance to cook more for his wife, who is from the Philippines, and his family. He used the time to create new dishes and tap his pantry, which has more than 30 bottles of vinegar, sauces and condiments.
This chipotle-rubbed pork loin is one of his quarantine creations. You can cook the meat in a skillet, but he prefers a charcoal grill. Either way, keep the heat on medium or use indirect grill heat. (As a drink accompaniment, Carr suggests Big Oyster Brewery’s Solar Power, a Belgian white beer with oranges and coriander.)
CHIPOTLE-RUBBED PORK LOIN WITH COCONUT-CHILI SAUCE
(Serves 2-4, depending on the pork loin size)
For the pork:
3 tablespoons of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
½ cup of honey
Juice from 3 limes
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1-1½-pound pork tenderloin
Blend the first four ingredients to combine. Rub all over the pork and marinate it in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons of oil
1 bunch of spring onions (scallions), green part removed and white part chopped (save the greens for the tomato salad)
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, chopped
1 tablespoon of garlic, chopped
1 red chili (bird’s eye, guajillo or red serrano), sliced (deseed to reduce heat)
1 jalapeno, sliced (deseed to reduce heat)
Stems from one bunch of cilantro
1 can (15 ounces) of coconut cream
½ cup of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
Pinch of salt and pepper
STEP 1 Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the scallion whites and ginger. Saute for one minute.
STEP 2 Add chilies and garlic. Saute until fragrant, about two minutes.
STEP 3 Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.
STEP 4 Remove from heat to let cool. Transfer to a blender and puree. Check seasoning and adjust to your liking.
For the tomato salad:
2-3 large tomatoes, quartered, or 2 quarts of smaller tomatoes, sliced in half.
½ small red onion, sliced very thin
½ cup of chopped scallion greens
2 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon of mint, chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 tablespoons of the coconut-chili sauce (see recipe at left)
Pinch of salt and pepper
Toss ingredients together.
STEP 1 Cook the rice of your choice according to the package directions. (Carr uses jasmine rice.)
STEP 2 Cook the pork to the desired doneness over medium heat in a skillet or over indirect heat on the grill. (Carr likes his medium-well.) Check often — do not let the honey glaze burn.
STEP 3 Allow the pork to rest five minutes before slicing.
STEP 4 Place the jasmine rice on a platter, top with the tomato salad and sliced pork. Drizzle the sauce over the pork.
OPTIONAL Carr tops the dish with toasted coconut.