About once a month I like to pretend I’m someone with a savvy wardrobe like SJP or Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham will never apply in my mind) and hit one of the big cities to wine and dine in style. I sip cocktails and promote myself as an east coaster with sun-kissed skin from the spring rays and of course clothed in black… black and tan if you will. As much as I scream California on a daily basis with a smile so unnecessary to many local inhabitants, this is my effort to fit in. This month: chic and modern martini bar Continental for appetizers and cocktails on their rooftop patio. While posing as a local, I actually did take a moment to enjoy the food fare. I naturally pushed my date to pick the most obscure item on the menu… Korean barbecue pulled pork tacos. In Cali, our Mexican influence has led us to stuffing the taco with as many ingredients as the shell will hold. Upon delivery of this nouveau tortilla wrapped appetizer, I initially felt shocked and dismayed to find almost nothing but meat and some slender cut slawed cucumbers inside the shell. Within one bite, my eyes widened like a street owl. Holy cow this is good! Forget the shredded lettuce, cheese suddenly became an afterthought, and sour cream developed into a completely moot point. The rich and salty flavor infused in the pork with the addition of pickled cucumbers sufficed more and then some. Below is my attempt to reincarnate the tacos on my plate from that evening.
Korean BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos with Pickled Cucumber Slaw
- 2 lb pork tenderloin seasoned with salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2-3 tbsp fresh tamarind concentrate (found in Thai or Asian section)
- 1/3 cup total sweetener: honey, pure maple, and/or sugar
- 1/4 cup chives or chopped green onion
- corn tortilla shells
For the cucumber slaw:
- 1 large cucumber sliced diagonal and thin
- 1/4 red onion sliced thin
- 1/4 cup white or red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
In a slow cooker, add a quarter-inch of water and set the dial to low. Cook the meat for 6-7 hours and then shred with a fork. Mix in the following sauce… on the stove top, heat the majority of the coconut oil to medium low. Add ginger and garlic and slightly saute. Add the soy, tamarind, and sweetener. Taste and add more sweetness or soy depending on preference. Pour in the majority of the sauce and mix in with meat. Add chives or green onions to meat mixture. Set aside remaining sauce and pour over individual tacos when serving. Slice cucumbers and onions; pour the vinegar over top and season. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and use to garnish on the tacos. I highly recommend softening the corn tortillas by heating a saucepan with coconut oil and dipping the shells over the heat for a few seconds on each side.
Wine Pairing: A low alcohol and light bodied Pinot Noir… Alfredo Roca Pinot Noir from Mendoza, Argentina.