Grilled Pork Neck with Pickled Cherries and Basil

Chef says: We were experimenting at the wine bar with different cuts of pork and discovered that the neck was a delicious and affordable one. It has a good meat-to-fat ratio, and, when cut thin and grilled quickly on high heat, is very tender and succulent. The marinade provides a little kick, the cherries add a touch ofsweetness and acidity, the basil some freshness and the sauce brings all the components together. Most butchers will be able to get you some neck with a little notice, but pork shoulder works nicely as well. The recipe makes more pickled cherries than needed, but fear not: they are great with cheese plates or other grilled or roasted meats, especially those with a bit of fat content.
By / Photography By Christian Lalonde | October 17, 2016

Preparation

Pickled cherries

1 pound fresh cherries
1 cup water
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar

With a sharp paring knife and holding the stem to keep it intact, slice each cherry crosswise around the middle and carefully remove the pit without bruising the cherry. Repeat with remaining cherries until they have all been pitted; discard pits.

Bring water, vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil and cook until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from the heat, add cherries and cool in the pickling liquid until ready to use with the pork.

Grilled pork

1 pound pork neck or shoulder
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups beef or pork stock
small handful of pickled cherries
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar salt
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, roughly torn, for finishing

Wrap pork in plastic wrap or butcher paper and place in the freezer for 1 hour or until firm but not frozen. With a very sharp knife, cut across the muscle to make thin chops, no more than ¼-inch thick (the neck and shoulder can be chewy if they are not sliced thinly enough).

In a large bowl, combine pork with garlic, rosemary, chili flakes and olive oil and stir well, then cover and refrigerate while you make the sauce.
Place beef (or pork) stock and a small handful of the pickled cherries in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until reduced by half or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with vinegar and salt. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean pot (discard solids) and keep sauce warm until ready to use.
Heat a grill to high. Season pork with salt to taste and grill until nicely charred and cooked to medium, about 1½ minutes per side.

To serve

Divide the pork slices among four individual plates. Spoon some of the warm cherry sauce over the pork and garnish each plate with six or seven pickled cherries. Sprinkle with torn basil leaves.

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