Okay, you guys. It's time to talk about it. Well, almost. First, let's talk about how things sometimes take you by surprise. How, sometimes you think that prunes are sort of gross and you don't care about them, and then someone changes your mind.
No one has ever asked me to steam a prune before. Quite frankly, I don't steam much and the recipe for Bacon and Prunes, Baked (Hot) made me realize that I don't really even have a proper steaming basket.
A few things I learned while making this recipe:
1. Bacon is the best blanket.
2. Olives fit really well inside prunes.
3. You can use a mesh strainer as a makeshift steaming basket, but try not to grab the metal handle with your bare hands like total idiot.
4. Sometimes your imagination should not be in charge of things you want to eat. Because my imagination said this would be gross, and it was - in fact - delightful.
But we're actually here to discuss something much more impressive than the bacon-wrapped prunes that began this meal. We're here to discuss a dear friend of ours, his generosity and The Godfather. The Godfather, more specifically, of the Bacon Explosion.
|"This is a fine and beautiful dish to set before your friends, let alone a king."|
I have actually done a great disservice to this dish by comparing it to the Bacon Explosion. It is, however, the only food in my lexicon nearly as intimidating, involved and satisfying. This is the precursor to that now infamous log of meat. This version is elegant, tender, not the least bit greasy and reminds you, from the second it emerges, radiantly burnished from the oven, that the person who made it for you cares about you a great deal.
This recipe comes from Cooking with the Two Fat Ladies. As I understand it, you begin with a seared pork tenderloin, (which, for me, is sort of the vodka of meat: it takes a lot to make it taste good) you wrap that tenderloin in ham. Then, the really magical things start happening. You make a stuffing of bread crumbs, herbs, sausage and cream and pack it around the pork/ham like an igloo. Seriously, I would like to insulate my house with this stuff and move away once I've eaten through the walls.
|For scale. And drooling.|
Then, you swaddle this creation with pastry dough, which you've (OF COURSE) made by hand. Then carry it carefully to the oven, as it weighs roughly the same amount as a morbidly obese baby and you bake it. And then - you guys, I'm drooling while I write this and it's been weeks since I ate it - you take it out of the oven and this happens:
The pork was a perfect temperature and extremely juicy. The ham gave it a nice saltiness. The stuffing - I need a minute. The stuffing was pillowy and herbaceous and utterly comforting. Oh, and did I mention it's wrapped in hand-made pastry? The Godfather was served alongside a very appropriate and necessary salad of spring greens and feta with a green goddess dressing that I almost drank straight from the serving dish. GUYS. I know I can be hyperbolic. I know I often tell you that I've just eaten the greatest thing that's ever been prepared by human hands. But this meal? This meal will have its own marker in the time-line of my life. Thank you for your hospitality, boys. How can I ever repay you?
Bacon and Prunes, Baked (Hot)
Select large fine prunes, wash them well and steam them until they are soft, but not mushy. Remove the stones and and fill each space with a small green olive which has been stoned; or remove the center from a stuffed olive. Wrap each prune after stuffing with a thin slice of bacon, fastening it with a pick. Bake in a hot oven until the bacon is crisp, drain on paper, remove cooking skewer and insert serving pick.