Inoteca salad and Braised pork

Dinner on Saturday night got started very, very late–we ended up getting home three hours later than I expected, and then baked cake, etc, so we started the (braised) meat at about the time I thought we’d be eating, and ate at bedtime. I scaled back the plans because we’d been snacking and it was so late, which means I have a lot of chard that I need to do something with this week. Soup tonight, maybe…

To start we had a salad that Bridge and I always split at Inoteca: Romaine and radicchio in a red wine vinaigrette, topped with a mountain of ricotta salata. It’s so, so simple, but the combo is perfect–the sharp radicchio and vinegar are offset by the mound of cheese, which is salty and perfect. I know my mom has been making this salad ever since we went to Inoteca, and this was the second or third time I made it. (Of course, afterwards all I want to eat is Truffled Egg Toast, it’s Pavlovian.) Try this at home!

For dinner I made a variation on an old Gourmet recipe for cider braised pork with caramelized onions. Whole Foods doesn’t carry pork shoulder, on or off the bone, so I made do with boneless pork butt, which….well, it’s big mess to deal with, I’ll tell you that. It was held together with an elastic net, but I had to take that off to score the fat, and then all the lobes of meat were everywhere and did NOT want to be bound back together with kitchen twine. I got flustered and started browning it 1) before sticking all the slices of garlic in (I did a bit of that while it was in the pan, an ouchy process that Bridge watched with trepidation), 2) WITHOUT SEASONING IT. That’s right, I completely forgot to salt and pepper the meat before cooking it. Brilliant. Somehow I don’t have any photos except of the finished process, but basically I browned the meat, pulled it out, caramelized the onions, added the cider in, put the meat back, and braised for a while in the oven. About 45 minutes before it was done (the time was all weird because I had a totally different piece of meat than the recipe called for) I pulled the le creuset out, peered in at my messy, messy chunks of meat, and cut off a little bit to see if it was getting tender. No, not yet. Also, it tasted like a shoe, because it was still in the tough phase, before the braising tenderizing magic happens, and also I HADN’T SALTED OR PEPPERED IT. I added S&P then, and then just really drowned the pieces in the onion sauce mixture (which you reduce a bit) when I served it. I have to say, it ended up tasting good: The Braising Magic kicked in and the meat was super tender, and blanketed in the sweet onions it was flavorful enough. I wasn’t feeling well, though, so I only ate two bites!

Served without chard or noodles, due to the lateness of the hour:

I liked my apples/sherry more than the onions, but I think short ribs might be next on the menu. And the brussels sprouts the Amateur Gourmet blogged a week or two ago, which I’ve been thinking about ever since. My mom is visiting next weekend! Cooking ahoy!

13 thoughts on “Inoteca salad and Braised pork”

  1. HI Kate–I just discovered your site a couple weeks ago and I am really enjoying it. I keep meaning to try inoteca, but can hardly bear to tear myself away from their sister restaurant, ino’. You should definitely stop in for their sweet pea and pecorino bruschette– it is incredible! I will definitely try making that salad– I am always looking for excuses to use ricotta salata. I saw Adam’s post about the brussel sprouts and it looks good– I also want to try making Chang’s recipe for brussel sprouts with kimchi and bacon!

  2. Mmm, sweet peas and pecorino–great combo! In Tuscany/Umbria in the spring you find fava beans paired with pecorino everywhere. So so good. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. My mom and I went to a week long cooking school, Toscana Saporita, in Tuscany last May and the fava were wonderful! I would recommend it, but both you and your mother appear to fabulous cooks already…and I am very jealous of that Oregonian garden of hers!

  4. I actually can’t think of anything my mom and I would rather do together–that sounds AMAZING. I’ll have to check your blog for pics!

  5. Actually, I am just starting my blog and would love for you to visit (, but I don’t have any pictures of our trip to Tuscany up! maybe I will add those at some point, BUT my boyfriend and I are renting an apartment in Rome for a week at the beginning of November, so I am sure I will have some postings from that trip!

  6. I’m making that shaved Brussels sprout salad tonight. I think you’d like it. Shave Brussels sprouts on a mandoline until you have a fluffy bowlful. Add a handful of coarsely grated Parmesan and a small handful of toasted walnuts. Dress the salad with a lemon vinaigrette; yum.

  7. That sounds great– I am actually trying to recreate a brussel sprouts recipe I had last week (at Alta in NYC). It is was so delicious– the brussel sprouts were roasted until slightly browned around the edges, and then topped with slices of apples, toasted pistachios, and creme fraiche dressing. heavenly. I will let you know how my home version turned out…

  8. Kate, this made me laugh SO HARD … I can’t tell you how many times I forget to salt and pepper my meats before braising! And braising is my favorite thing to do.
    I’m sure it was yummy – and that salad is a must. I’m going to try it this Sunday, when I have a few people over.

    I think braised short ribs is what I get the most satisfaction out of cooking. I do a mish mash of a Marcella Hazan recipe with a big pinch of Suzanne Goin. I can’t wait to see how you make magic with those ribby nuggets of deliciousness!

  9. Mom, I have all the makings for the brussels sprout salad at home right now–I think I’ll try it this week!

    Germi, I would love to have your mashup recipe–I made the Goin recipe last winter and it was amazing but soooo time-consuming. I’m also dying to heck out the options in two cookbooks that I haven’t used enough yet: Bones, which a friend gave us as a wedding gift, and the Braising cookbook my mom gave me.

    And Juree, I am so jealous of your jaunts to Italy! Be sure to blog blog blog the week in Rome. I’ve never been much south of Florence, since that’s where we have relatives, but Rome’s food is supposed to be so killer.

  10. The picture of this salad has been calling me for, what now, a week? Anyway, I finally made a version of it last night–having never had the original, I still thought it was delicious (I used a half clove of garlic and a little dijon mustard to emulsify the red wine vinaigrette–no idea if that’s what you meant, but it really worked). I also had to use a maiche mixture (I hate people like me on recipe sites–I did this, but not that or that, or really that at all) but it worked wonderfully. I served it with slices of toasted garlic bread and potato and leek soup. Lovely fall dinner.

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