Fillet of pork Cavalcanti style from Anna del Conte’s The Gastronomy of Italy (Pavilion Books, 2001 and 2005)
This dazzling recipe, devised by Ippolito Cavalcanti, a 19th-century Neapolitan aristocrat, and author of Cucina Teorica-Pratica, relies on the quality and breed of the meat. Serves 4.
- 600g pork fillets
- 40g unsalted butter
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 120ml red wine
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4tsp sugar
- A pinch ground cinnamon
- 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1tbsp very finely ground almonds
- 2tbsp elderberries
- 1tbsp capers, preferably in salt, rinsed
Trim the fat off the pork fillets and cut in half if necessary, so they will fit in a large sauté pan. Heat half the butter and the olive oil in the pan, and add the pork. Fry until brown on all sides. Bring the wine to the boil in a separate small pan and pour over the meat with two tablespoons of hot water. When the liquid has come back to the boil, add salt and pepper. Turn the heat down so that the liquid will just simmer, cover the pan tightly and cook for ten minutes, or until the pork is done. Remove the meat from the pan and keep warm.
Add the sugar and cinnamon, the balsamic vinegar, almonds, elderberries and capers to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for two minutes. Break the remaining butter into small pieces and add gradually to the sauce while gently stirring and swirling the pan. Slice the meat (not too thinly) and return to the pan for two minutes to absorb the flavour of the sauce. Serve immediately.
With this, I'd serve a crunchy, curranty red, not to dry so that it can also mop up the sweet-and-sour elements. 88 Growers Barossa Shiraz would work as would Painted Wolf 'Peloton' Rouge For a very special occasion, try a warm southern Italian red like Graticciaia.