This recipe for Greek Thyme, Oregano and Fenugreek Pork Fillet served with Tsatziki and a Tomato and Onion Salad, takes the essential flavours of Greek cooking and adds fenugreek, a herb that Leivatitaki learned to love through Turkish cuisine. Like the author of Aegean: Recipes from the Mountains to the Sea our reviewer Nicky loves the addition, and declares pork and fenugreek a match made in heaven.
Read more about the book, and what Nicky thought of all the recipes she made, in her full review of Aegean, here.
Greek Thyme, Oregano and Fenugreek Pork Fillet (with Tsatziki and Tomato & Onion Salad
I started using fenugreek after visiting Turkey a few years ago. I did not know what it was, how to include it in my cooking, what the plant looked like. I recognized the flavour in pastourma, but have never tasted it in anything else. I had it in Turkey with cured fish and I was blown away. Together with other spices it is used to make a paste known as ‘çemen’ in Turkish and ‘tsimeni’ in Greek, rubbed onto meat and fish as part of the cure. In recent years I have experimented a lot with fenugreek seeds and have included them in stews, marinades and, of course, curing pastes. In Crete, oregano, salt and pepper are mostly used for grilled meats. The addition of hot and aromatic spices is not very common. I added some fenugreek powder to this simple seasoning and I must say that I will never cook pork on the grill without it again. I prefer to cook the pork fillet on a charcoal grill because the flavour is better when you use fire, but you can pan-fry it with a touch of olive oil.
- 1 pork ﬁllet (about 500g/1lb 2oz)
- A little extra virgin olive oil, if pan frying
For the spice mix
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp Turkish chilli ﬂakes
- 1 tsp ground fenugreek
- 1 tsp smoked hot paprika
- Sea salt, to taste (be generous)
For the tsatziki
- 1 cucumber, grated on the coarse side of a box grater, and salted
- 200 g 7oz Greek yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed into a paste with a touch of salt
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the tomato and onion salad
- 2 ripe red tomatoes, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black
Combine the ingredients for the spice mix and rub it over the pork fillet and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Make sure your pan is hot before you add the oil and the fillet. Brown it all over and then lower the heat to the minimum. Continue cooking for about 8–10 minutes until it feels quite firm to the touch. I like having this slightly pink, but not underdone. When the fillet is ready, remove from the heat and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Slice thinly.
Squeeze the salted cucumber to get rid of the excess water and place in a bowl together with all the other tsatziki ingredients. Stir, check the seasoning and put to one side.
Quickly make the tomato salad by mixing everything in a bowl. Check the seasoning.
Serve by putting slices of pork, accompanied by some tsatziki and tomato salad, on a flat plate.
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Aegean: Recipes from the Mountains to the Sea by Marianna Leivatitaki from publishers Kyle Books (Octopus Group). Book cover provided by Kyle Books (photography © Elena Heatherwick).