08 Jul oregano pork skewers
Planning a BBQ in the summer in Ireland can be a little heart-breaking. June didn’t follow up on the promise of the sunny bliss of May, but there’s still time and I’m holding out for another luxuriously consistent spell of sunshine before we greet autumn.
But, hey, this isn’t a column about the weather and food can be enjoyed as much indoors as outdoors. I fake a BBQ by whipping out my trusty griddle pan. It’s a heavy cast-iron pan I picked up in the Le Creuset shop in Kildare Village a number of years ago, and it has served me well.
These pork skewers work as well when eaten at your dining table or eaten al fresco at your picnic table. I use a whole pork fillet, sometimes known as the tenderloin, for my grilling chunks. It cooks quickly, especially on a BBQ, and it’s easy to slice. Alternatively, you can ask your butcher for their advice on what works well over a grill or griddle pan.
I’ve included a step in the recipe of soaking the wooden skewers. This prevents the skewers from burning when cooked, and is especially useful when cooking on a BBQ grill. If you’re using metal skewers you don’t need to worry.
Oregano Pork Skewers
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 to 20 minutes
For the pork skewers
500g pork fillet
Half a lemon
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
Half a teaspoon of pepper
1 clove of garlic
Half a courgette
10 cherry tomatoes
For the tzatziki
4 tablespoons of natural yogurt
Quarter of a cucumber
For the green salad
3 large handfuls of salad green
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Half a tablespoon of red wine vinegar
Squeeze of lemon juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
4 pitta or flatbreads
- Heat some sunflower oil on your griddle pan. Soak eight wooden skewers in water.
- Start by using a sharp knife to slice the pork fillet into about 12 bite-sized chunks. Place the pork in a bowl and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Add the teaspoon of oregano, the olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Slice the garlic clove into very fine slices and add to the bowl with the pork. If you have time, you could let this marinate for 30 minutes or even a couple of hours but if you’re in a rush, they’ll still be tasty without being marinated.
- Slice the courgette into rounds and the cherry tomatoes into halves. Pat dry your wooden skewers and thread the pork, courgettes and tomatoes onto the skewers.
- Your griddle pan will be good and hot at this stage. Cook the pork skewers in batches, for 6 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until the pork is browned and cooked through.
- Meanwhile, make your tzatziki by dicing the cucumber into very small chunks. Mix into the yogurt, and add a teaspoon or so of lemon zest, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Prepare a dressing for your salad by mixing together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper and the squeeze of lemon juice. Place the salad in a serving bowl with the dressing on the side.
- Toast the pitta or flatbreads before serving alongside the cooked pork skewers, with the salad and the tzatziki on the side.
Storecupboard Essential: Skewers
I have a bag of wooden skewers in my storecupboard, kept aside for sunnier times when grilling meat on sticks feels like the only appropriate course of supper action. Metal skewers are a good investment, too, as you can reuse them again and again. Pick up a packet in your local supermarket.
This recipe first appeared in The Irish Independent on July 7th 2016