Spanish tapas (finger foods) are quickly gaining more popularity in this country. But their origin goes back centuries! The Moors invaded Spain back in the 8th Century and their occupation lasted for another six centuries. Naturally, lots of Arabic influences made their way throughout the culture – including regional cuisine.
Pinchos Morunos – meaning Moorish Skewers is a wonderful tapa – or small dish that you can serve as a starter, or even as a main meal alongside a nice green salad. The spice blend, warm and savory (similar to Ras el Hanout – see an earlier post of mine) is awakened just before serving with a bright splash of lemon and garlic.
Give these a try – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!
Serves Two to Four (as a meal); 10-12 (as tapas)
Time: Marinade – 2 to 24 hours; Active cooking time: 15 minutes
Nonstick cooking spray
2 ½ pounds pork tenderloin (trimmed of excess silver skin)
1 ½ tbs cumin
1 ½ tbs paprika
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp Tajin
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup olive oil
5 cloves of garlic – grated and divided
Juice of 1 ½ lemons, divided
Trim the tenderloins of any excess silver skin and then cut into 1 ½” chunks. Combine all the spices, olive oil and about 2 cloves of the grated garlic – mix well. Place the pork chunks in a freezer bag and pour the marinade over. Remove as much air and seal well. With your hands, rub the pork in the bag ensuring each piece is covered by the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24.
Heat a large skillet (cast iron is great – or a nonstick) over medium high heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. When the skillet is hot, place the pork and cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes and turn. Continue to cook until that side is browned – again, about 3 minutes. You’ll probably have to work in batches. There will be quite a bit of residue in the pan – that’s okay. But it will most likely be smoky – so turn on your vent and/or open a window!
While the pork is cooking, juice a full lemon and combine with the remaining grated garlic.
When all the pork is cooked – place them in a bowl and toss with lemon and grated garlic. If eating as a meal, mound the pork on a plate and serve alongside a green salad. If serving as tapas, skewer two pieces of pork on long toothpicks and arrange on a platter with lemon wedges!
A great day for me is preparing great meals for friends and family. I enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and also updating classics that I've enjoyed for years. I love to travel and try lots of new cuisines - and wouldn't be anything without the love of my family!