Memories and Musings

Pig Paint

Pig Paint
Pig Paint

One of my best selling dishes of all time is called “The Rhum and Pepper Painted Grouper”. I started making that reduction I named a “paint” in 1985. Essentially a “paint” is a reduction of liquid along with spices, aromatics etc. as well as some sugar of some sort that become ‘tight’ and of a coating, (hence painting) consistency. I look for power and balance. You need power in that only the surface of the protein is touched with it. It is not a braise after all. The range of opportunities of making various paints is pretty broad. Last night I made a new kind of “paint” that was derived in part from a recipe I got in 2002 for a “Filipino Adobo Chicken”. The original recipe was much too one-dimensional in my view. The heavy emphasis on soy was the first and largest problem. So I changed it bumping up the lonely little chile it called for, (tripling in fact), adding sweetness with light brown sugar, adding ginger and instead of using it as a kind of “poaching liquid for chicken” we reduced our altered version with fresh orange juice and, once reduced to “paint point”, I applied it to raw pork steaks I had seasoned one hour earlier to help them ‘set up’. I would have preferred to grill the steaks but since our Miami Condo Tower doesn’t allow grilling I took a panini press out on the balcony, (hopefully not an infraction), got it as hot as possible and cooked it in a modified George Foreman press mode… It did the job both caramelizing the glaze we’d made and getting the pork to just below medium in a quick period of time. After a few bites and consideration this paint was baptized, “Pig Paint”. One of the keys to this kind of thing is having enough fat in the midst of meat. Happily that invites us to use less utilized cuts of the animal and that means a lower price at the grocery store as well as more conservation of our animals.

 
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