800g whole piece Ibérico pork presa (if you can't find any, very good quality apple-fed English pork would work, but it won't produce the same excellence as the presa)
8tbs unsalted butter, melted
Maldon sea salt, to season
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
If using a charcoal or wood-fired grill: log of wood (birchwood, oak, cherry or apple)
If using a pan: 1tbs grapeseed oil
For the chard miso
300g grilled courgettes, thinly diced
200g chard, blanched in heavily salted water, dried, split into stems and leaves and thinly chopped
½ bunch chives, thinly snipped
½ bunch mint, thinly chopped
2tbs dark miso paste
2tbs toasted black sesame seeds, crushed with ½ tsp salt
Juice of ½ lemon
4tbs chive oil
4tbs mint oil
For the courgettes
8 baby courgettes, halved lengthways
For the mint and chive oils
200g mint leaves
400ml grapeseed oil
Make the miso
Mix the diced courgettes and chopped chard with the chives and mint in a bowl, then add the miso paste and the crushed black sesame seeds. Mix and adjust the seasoning to taste, then let it sit for 30-40 minutes at room temperature in a covered container.
Brine the courgettes
Place the halved courgettes in a solution of 10% salt brine (10% salt to 100% water) for 20 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
To make the mint and chive oils
Add 200ml of oil (we use grapeseed oil) to 200g of mint or chive leaves, and a pinch of salt and blend them together in a high-powered blender or the bowl of a food processor, until the mixture is smooth and emulsified. Transfer the blended herbs and oil to a small saucepan over a low heat and cook gently, stirring frequently so that it doesn't burn. As you stir, you'll notice the oil particles start separating from the herbs and the oil will start changing colour and getting darker. Once the oil has completely separated from the herbs and the small particles of leaves are looking quite dark, remove from the heat and strain the oil through a very fine cheesecloth or muslin into a bowl set over ice.
Grill the presa
Cut the presa into four equal-sized pieces and let them come to room temperature before you start cooking. If you have a charcoal or wood-fired grill, smoke the meat slowly over a smoking log for 45 minutes, turning it frequently. Transfer the smoked meat to a hot grill and cook it for 45 seconds-1 minute on each side. Between each side, remove the meat from the heat and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Repeat the grilling and resting process 4-5 times until the meat is grilled on all sides and reaches an internal temperature of 48°C on a probe thermometer. Brush the meat all over with melted butter, including the milk solids, and season with salt.
If you don't have a charcoal or wood-fired grill, heat the grapeseed oil in a heavy based pan over a high heat, swirling it around so that the surface is well greased. Once the oil is very hot, sear the pieces of meat on all sides, giving each side 45 seconds of direct heat, then removing it to let it rest for 5 minutes, before turning it and searing another side. Repeat the searing and resting process 3-4 times until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 48°C on a probe thermometer and is seared on all sides. The meat will continue to cook off the heat, so stop searing the meat once it reaches 42°C, then let it slowly reach 48°C as it rests. Brush the meat all over with melted butter, including the milk solids, and season with salt.
Sear the courgettes and warm the miso
Gently warm the miso in a saucepan (don't cook it!), add the lemon juice, adjust the seasoning and mix in the chive oil and mint oil.
Heat a little grapeseed oil in a non-stick frying pan and sear the brined courgette halves, flesh-side down, then turn them over and cook them on the skin side. This process should take no more than 3 minutes. Transfer them straight to 4 warm serving plates.
Flash-fry the presa on both sides in the same pan you used to sear the courgettes, then carve. Arrange 2-3 tablespoons of the chard miso in the centre of each plate. Place the pork on top, then the seared courgettes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately.
Recipe from Chiltern Firehouse The Cookbook. Photos by Taylor Peden and Jen Munkvold