Saba is my Secret Weapon, or What to Cook Tonight
Fairly often my wife gets fed up with our eating regimen (lots of grilled cheese sandwiches (made with great cheese or sometimes Kraft Deluxe American slices), salads, hot dogs and burgers) and demands that I make her a home-cooked meal. So yesterday I bought a container of roasted vegetables at Fairway, one of my local gourmet stores, to use as a sidedish with the boneless pork roast I was going to make. After liberally salting the meat with kosher salt I browned the outside of the pork roast in a saute pan on top of the stove in some olive oil and a little butter. Put the butter in after the olive oil has heated up or else the butter will burn. I then put the pork roast into a 350 degree preheated oven. I cooked the small (a pound and a half) pork roast until an internal meat thermometer reads 155 degrees. Then I put the roasted vegetables in the saute pan I had browned the pork in. I then put in the pan three or four tablespoons of Saba, cooked grape juice made from Trebbiano grapes, the same ones they use to make balsamic vinegar. My friend and co-author Dave Pasternack (chef-partner of Esca) calls Saba Italian maple syrup. It has a fruity, sweet, surprisingly complex flavor, and Saba makes just about anything taste better, especially pork and roasted vegetables. Cook the saba down until it's just about the consistency of maple syrup. Slice the pork roast, dip the slices in the saute pan to soak up the pan juices and saba, and then plate the vegetables. You're ready to eat. My wife loved the meal. I did, too, and now I get to order pizza tomorrow. Out of the frying pan into the pizza oven, so to speak. Saba is available at many gourmet grocery stores. It's also available online from the Zingerman's catalogue.