I am the human equivalent of a mutt, with roots in Hawaii, Portugal, Ireland, Liechtenstein, and Spain. Each branch of the family identified itself through its cooking, and with two Portuguese grandfathers, that country's cuisine showed up a lot. Where I grew up in California, in the East Bay, has a huge Portuguese community. Recently, on a FB page celebrating my California hometown of San Lorenzo, there was a big discussion about one of our "local" specialities--vinho d'alhos.
One thing about vinho d' alhos--the recipe differs from family to family. (It is pronounced something like "vino dosh.") The basics are vinegar, wine, pickling spices, and garlic. This version (from my book, Cooking with Tommy Bahama: Flavors of Aloha) only marinates pork for a mere day or two, but aficionados often pickle the meat for three or even more days. The tart and spicy marinade gives the meat a pronounced, mouthwatering, tang. Pork loin is a great cut for this soak, but cheap pork shoulder is even better. If you use shoulder, roast the pork to at least 165F so it is fall-apart tender--the fat will keep it from drying out. And I always add some potatoes to cook in the wonderful juices.
Roast Pork and Potatoes with Wine and Garlic Marinade
Makes 6 servings
1 cup/240 ml white wine vinegar
1/2 cup/120 dry white wine
2 Tbsp pickling spices (see Note)
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
One pork loin roast with bones, chine bone cracked (about 3 1/2 lb/1.6 kg)
2 lb/910 red potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-in/-cm chunks
1 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, for serving
1. At least 1 day before serving, marinate the pork: Whisk the vinegar, 1 cup water, wine, pickling spices, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes together in a large bowl. Put the pork in a 1-gallon/3.8-L zippered plastic bag, pour in the marinade, and close the bag. Place in a baking dish and refrigerate, turning the bag occasionally, for 1 or 2 days.
2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF/TKºC.
3. Drain the pork and discard the marinade. Scrape off as many of the clinging spices as possible. Place the pork, bone side down, in the roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF/TKºC, and continue roasting for 30 minutes more.
4. Toss the potatoes and oil together in a large bowl. Spread the potatoes around the pork and stir to coat with the pan juices. Continue roasting, occasionally stirring the potatoes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the pork reads 145ºF/TKºC, about 1 hour. Transfer the pork to a carving board and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Return the oven temperature to 425ºF/TKºC. Continue roasting the potatoes, turning them occasionally with a metal spatula, until they are golden and tender, about 15 minutes more.
6. Carve the pork and transfer to a serving platter. Season the potatoes to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the potatoes around the pork, sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve.
Note: If you prefer, use this substitute for the pickling spices: 2 tsp whole allspice, 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 6 whole cloves, and 2 crumbled bay leaves for the pickling spice.