Pork Kebabs in the Style of the Moors

by on October 21, 2012
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Here is an example of Christian Spain adapting the flavors of Moorish Spain to their favorite meat. Originally made with lamb, these spicy pork morsels are served at tapas bars all over Spain.

To dress up this classic in summertime, brush peach halves with some of the marinade and grill them along with the kebabs. I like to use pork tenderloins for this recipe because they are a good size and are tender.

* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan until fragrant, finely ground
* 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
* 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot paprika
* 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed and steeped in 2 tablespoons hot water
* 2 teaspoons dried oregano
* Salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces
* 2 tablespoons minced garlic
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
* Lemon wedges for serving

Instructions 1. In a small saucepan, combine the oil, cumin, sweet and hot paprika, saffron infusion, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper and warm over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes to release the aromas of the seasonings. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

2. Place the pork in a bowl and rub with the oil mixture, coating evenly. Add the garlic, parsley, and lemon juice and toss well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

3. Soak bamboo skewers in water to cover for 30 minutes. Prepare a fire in a charcoal or gas grill, or preheat the broiler.

4. Drain the skewers. Remove the pork from the marinade, thread onto the skewers, and sprinkle with salt. Place on the grill rack, or arrange on a broiler pan and slip under the broiler. Grill or broil, turning once, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side.

5. Serve the skewers with lemon wedges.

Notes This is like coming home to Spain — pure Spanish tapas bar food. If there is one dish I have to eat seconds of at a tapas bar, this pork — marinated in olive oil, sweet and hot paprikas, cumin, saffron and garlic — is it.

Although this dish requires thinking ahead by 24 hours because you need to marinate the meat, the payback is tenfold. Make extra marinade and freeze it for use later on fish, chicken, lamb, sliced eggplant and even onions for grilling. It is that good.

Joyce Goldstein, cookbook author and San Francisco chef, staked out her claim to the Mediterranean palate maybe two decades ago with some of the best tasting, most sure-footed recipes in the business. I think this will be a keeper.

From Tapas: Sensational Small Plates from Spain by Joyce Goldstein (Chronicle Books, 2009). (C) 2009 by Joyce Goldstein.

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