Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Greek-ish Pork Pinwheels

I wasn't sure if this meal would be good or a Greek tragedy. Fortunately, it turned out excellent.

I daydream about food on the way home from work most evenings. I think about what ingredients I have at home, things I've seen or cooked before, and just let the thoughts collide. Tonight my thoughts centered around a pork tenderloin that I had thawed out.

I thought about Chris Lilly's Pork Tenderloin Pinwheels that I have made before, stuffed with bacon, rolled in pecans and brushed with a mustard sauce. But the feta and fresh spinach I had at home made me think more along Greek lines. Here's what I came up with.

Nibble Me This Greek Pork Pinwheels

1 ea pork tenderloin
30 spinach leaves (about 1/2 cup?)
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup olive oil
3 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup fig infused balsamic vinegar (sub red wine vinegar)
1/4 cup white onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste

Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade for the Greek rice.

Slice the tenderloin lengthwise into about 5-6 slices, about 1/4" thick each as pictured.

TIP: First, put the tenderloin into the freezer for about 30 minutes to partially freeze it. Slices much easier. Second, most tenderloins have a "flat side" due to being packaged two to a pack. Use that flat side as a solid base.

Top each slice with layers of spinach, feta, and sun dried tomatoes. Drizzle some of the marinade on top.

Carefully (i.e. make a hell of a mess trying to keep it all together) roll up each slice from one end to the other and secure with a toothpick.
Place the pinwheels in a small casserole and apply remaining marinade. Let sit for 1-2 hours.

Prepare your grill for a direct heat cook at 375f. On the Big Green Egg, I had plain lump charcoal burning with no wood and I used a raised grid extender. That's about 8 inches from the fire so that would be the top rack on most other grills.

TIP: The oily marinade will cause flare ups so keep your grill lid closed to control the flow of oxygen.

Grill the pinwheels for 8 minutes a side.

We were very pleased with this. They weren't very photogenic but the pork was tender and packed with flavor thanks to the marinade from inside and out.

For a side dish, I made this Greek Tomato Pilaf and added the reserved 1/4 cup of marinade at the point you add the dry rice to the saute. I give that recipe two thumbs up too.