Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Frigarui de porc

"Pork grilled on skewers"

No barbeque (and Romanians love to get together for a barbeque) would be complete, in my opinion, without some frigarui. Tender chunks of meat over hot coals, fat dripping off and spitting filling the air with their appetising aroma. That's what eating outdoors is all about.

Sadly, pork is sometimes a little tricky when it comes to grilling. It's fine having your lamb or beef skewers a little under, but the fear of undercooked pork often leads to guests being served tough little nuggets of chewy dry meat. I find this problem can be overcome by a good period of marinating and using a good fatty cut of pork. Not great for the waistline but 'sa fie'.

Here's how to make 'frigarui' in the Romanian style, from Sandra Marin's 'Carte de bucate'.

Pork (belly, neck)
Slanina (optional)
Oregano (optional)
Wooden skewers

1. Cut the pieces of pork into chunks, each about 2-3cm square, and sprinkle them with salt. Slice the slanina* thinly.
2. Prepare the wooden skewers, each about 20cm long, and thread 4-5 pieces of meat on each one with a slice of slanina between each. Don't squeeze them too closely together.
3. Put them on the barbeque (or under the grill) on a high heat to cook quickly.
4. Serve with fried potatoes (and cold beer!).

*Slanina is a big wedge of pork belly fat. It works well with these barbequed/grilled skewers as it helps keep the meat moist as it renders over/under the flames.

To prevent the wooden skewers from burning you can leave them to soak in water for a while before using them. Alternatively, just use metal ones.

A simple enough recipe. If I'm thinking ahead, I'll often prepare the chunks of meat in advance (usually the day before) and put them in a container well tossed in olive oil and perhaps a little fresh oregano. When choosing the meat, go for something red and streaked with fat - the cutlets often come out too dry. I usually use a mixture of ceafa (neck) and piept (belly). Sometimes the belly still has a layer of fat on it, in which case I just alternate it on the skewer with the neck and leave out the slanina.

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