Last updated on November 22nd, 2016
Written and photographed by Christine Miksis
I was fortunate enough to pick up a few tricks from an insider of the Parisian restaurant scene during a recent shopping trip to the Marché d’Aligre. Armed with an empty canvas bag, lots of Euro coins and a brain chock full of innovative recipes, Braden Perkins showed me the ropes and gathered sunchokes, cilantro, clementines and other ingredients for Hidden Kitchen, a private supper club he and his fiancée Laura Adrian host at their très chic apartment.
If you happen to be traveling to Paris and are lucky enough to score one of the 16 sought-after seats at this dinner table, anticipate ten courses of creative recipes paired with wines and good conversation. You might even have the honor of meeting their charming Boston terrier, Tatie.
If you cannot make it to Hidden Kitchen, bring a piece of it into your own home by whipping up this awesome espresso-encrusted pork roulade recipe I picked up from the food duo that day after the market. They taught me how to prepare and cook this in about 45 minutes total (prep time 25 minutes, cook time under 20 minutes). Braden suggests serving the dish beside some roasted pumpkin, sweet potato or carrot mash, and pairing with a French Burgundy or an Oregon Pinot.
Espresso Encrusted Pork Roulade
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Makes 4 servings
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- Zest of 3 clementines
- Juice of 1 clementine
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 butterflied pork tenderloins or large boneless pork chops
- 2 tablespoons ground espresso beans
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Mix the garlic, cilantro, clementine zest and juice, and olive oil together in a small bowl.
With a meat tenderizer, pound each pork tenderloin on both sides to flatten them out as evenly as possible (1/2-inch width is ideal). Afterwards, square off the edges using a knife to form a rectangular shape, and if necessary, even out the width as well by carefully cutting off any excess meat from the top. Reserve the excess pork pieces. Note that Braden actually uses grillade de porc, which is generally a cut of pork difficult to find in the U.S.
Next, generously salt and pepper the pork and scoop about 2 1/2 tbsp of the cilantro mix on top of each tenderloin. For a heartier filling, add any extra strips of the reserved pork pieces. Roll up each tenderloin like a sushi roll, keeping the cilantro filling evenly distributed throughout.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and heat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, to medium-high to high heat.
In the meantime, take out a long length of trusty butcher’s twine and truss the pork to secure for cooking. It may sound scary, but it is actually quite simple. For the unfamiliar, just follow this quick and easy video. Five to eight loops of string around the meat should do the trick.
Add espresso grounds, brown sugar, salt and pepper to a gallon-size Ziploc bag and mix well. Toss in the trussed tenderloins and shake until evenly covered.
Once the skillet is completely hot, add some oil, then sear the pork 1 minute per side (do all four sides), or until crispy and darkened. Turn off the stovetop but leave the skillet on the hot burner.
Transfer the pork rolls to a baking sheet and pop in the oven for about 10 minutes. Transfer the pork back to the skillet and let rest for another 5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the twine and slice off the ends. Cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces and serve.
The only thing left to do afterwards is to fake a little French flair—throw on a striped Breton tee-shirt, light some candles and turn up the Serge Gainsbourg. You’re now good to go.