It was long winter by anyone’s standards. Some of us are still hoarding chocolate bunnies and Cadbury eggs leftover from Easter, enjoying the extra sunshine, and dubiously acknowledging that it is finally spring in Alaska. Friday before last, Old Man Winter lashed out one last time, dropping 24 inches of snow onto Anchorage. April 2008 was the snowiest on record. We thought we were in the clear, but no. Still, it has been warm since then and the snowbanks have receded quickly, leaving moraines of trash and a winter’s worth of dog poop all over town. The surest sign of spring is actually here – the street sweepers are patrolling the roads, hoovering up a winter’s worth of gravel. A welcome sight, as the tons of rock spread through the winter to help with traction ends up ground to dust by traffic, leaving a gray pallor over the entire town.
The tourists are trickling in, marveling both at the mountains over town, and at locals wearing shorts when its 40 degrees. Flip flops aren’t an uncommon sight even before the snow melts, and once the sunshine drags out past 8 or 9 PM, everyone feels entitled to dress for summer even if it is still a month away. The crocuses are emerging, and this afternoon I found the first new green shoots from the poppies on the north side of the house. A week or so ago, that ground was still frozen.
The seasonal changes are welcome, and none more so than the new cravings. A winter’s worth of roast beast and pastas is giving way to the lighter fare. With daylight extending into the wee hours already, the dinner hour here keeps slipping back later and later, too late for heavy meals. That said, here’s the last of the heavy stuff for awhile
Get a good pork tenderloin, hopefully not one of those shrink-wrapped phallic abominations from the grocery store. Find a local butcher, make friends with them, ask what’s good. Much better for you and the animals than the stuff at the grocery.
Trim the tenderloin well, removing all the excess fat and any silver skin. Slice it into 1/2 inch thick medallions and lay them out in a single layer on your cutting board. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and bang on them a bit with a mallet (or heavy spoon, small child, whatever) to tenderize and texture. Remove the plastic, salt and pepper lightly on both sides, and set aside.
Heat up a good pan, adding the oil when it is quite hot. A non-stick is not the best choice, because you want the meat to stick a little and leave those good browned bits in the bottom for the sauce. Sauté over medium high heat till done, about 2 minutes per side if things are hot enough. Deglaze the pan with a cup of good port, making sure to scrape all the lovely pieces of browned pork stuck to the pan. Once reduced by about half, add half a cup of chicken broth, a big handful of dried cherries, and a small handful of chopped rosemary. Reduce till saucy, splash in a scant tablespoon of cream. Swirl and drizzle over the pork. I forgot to them, but I bet a handful of rough-chopped walnuts or pecans would a crunchy counter to the soft cherries.