Should you ever need to get hold of me on the first weekend in May, look first at the feria in a small seaside town just outside Jerez. You’ll most likely find me there drinking fino and eating tapas amongst a throng of the friendliest people in the world and to the incessant beat of the sevilliana. One of the local bars does a cracking cold tapas of sliced pork tenderloin wrapped in jamon, and so this way of cooking pork always reminds me of that. I’m styling it here for our chillier weather but the Spanish way is well worth keeping in the back of your mind for those first evenings when you can sit in the garden with a glass of something cold.
And yes, I know parma ham isn’t spanish. But I never said this was a spanish dish only that it reminds me of one. There’s a nuttiness from the chestnut-eating parma pigs which marries especially well with the pork.
Serve with fennel braised vermouth, mustard leeks, nd boiled potatoes dressed with butter, salt, parsley and mint.
Piece of pork tenderloin - approx 600g
2 big sprigs of rosemary - leaves taken off the stalk and finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme
1 tsp juniper berries
1 tsp lemon juice
1tbsp olive oil
7 or 8 slices parma ham
If you have the time, wrap the pork in the parma ham an hour or so before you want to cook it. Preheat the oven to 180C.
Sit a large piece of kitchen foil in a baking tin that’s big enough to take the pork and then arrange the parma ham slices in a line down the middle of the foil. Pestle together the rosemary, thyme, juniper, lemon and olive oil with some salt and pepper. Rub that mixture all over the pork which you then lay on top of the parma ham. Wrap the ham around the pork, securing it as you go by skewering cocktail sticks through. Leave this be and put it into the oven an hour before you want to sit down and eat.
When the pork has been in the oven for 45 minutes, take it out and bring together the edges of the foil to wrap it up. Turn the oven down to 140C and put the pork back in for 10/15 minutes.
Let the pork sit out of the oven for 5-10 minutes before serving, but it should still be wrapped in its foil parcel.
Carve the pork as thinly as you can (that’ll be tricky whilst it is so warm and tender, but in a good way) and gravy the juices from the fennel over the meat. Any leftover pork should be saved to enjoy as tapas the next day - fino optional but recommended.