I LOVE to recreate recipes I've tried at a restaurant.
Last month, Ryan and I drove up to Pendleton, Oregon for his cousin's wedding. After a long drive up there from Utah, we were exhausted, hungry, and happy to be out of the car. Ryan's parents were amazing, and the second we settled into Pendleton, they took us out to dinner.
I ordered a salad from their seasonal menu, and really had no idea what was about to begin...
my complete and utter obsession with blackberries.
Yes, I've had them before, but never have I really craved them constantly... until I took my first bite of this salad. In my opinion, it was the perfect salad. The blackberries were absolutely succulent, and were surprisingly sweet with just the right amount of tang. The cherry tomatoes provided bursted when you bit into them. The green onions balanced out the sweet with a little zip. The bed of arugula was what I can only describe as buttery (strange eh?) below the thick layer of melted spicy pepper jack (a TOTAL win in my book) and a slow cooked pile of perfectly juicy & sweet pulled pork.
I remember slicking up my large plate faster than I ever have. The night after, the day after, and the week after, I wouldn't stop talking about this salad.
You know what that means? I recreate it in my kitchen - because even though the 9-hour drive back to Pendleton would be worth it, I think I much prefer the short trip to our local supermarket for the salad ingredients.
It tasted exactly as I remember.
Fresh Blackberry Pork Salad
makes 4 servings
cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 package of arugula & spinach
shredded pepper jack cheese
*1 batch of slow cooker pulled pork
*pulled pork ingredients:
3 T light brown sugar
2 t hot paprika
1 t mustard powder
1/2 t ground cumin
salt and pepper
3-4 lb boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
2 t vegetable oil
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
2 T tomato paste
1. 8 hours ahead, prepare your pulled pork: combine 1 T brown sugar, paprika, mustard powder, cumin, 2 t salt and 1/2 t pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the thawed raw pork.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add the pork and cook, turning, until browned on all sides - about 5 minutes. If oil gets too hot and starts to pop, be careful, and turn the heat down slightly. Remove the pork and transfer to a plate.
3. Whisk 3/4 C of water into the pan drippings in the skillet, then transfer the liquid to your 5-6 quart slow cooker. Add vinegar, tomato paste, the remaining 2 T brown sugar, and 2 C of water to slow cooker. Whisk to combine, Add the pork, cover with lid, and cook on low for 8 hours. No peeking!
4. Time to plate. Lay out 4 dinner plates. On each plate, lay out a heaping bed of greens. Sprinkle with a few blackberries, tomatoes, almonds, green onions, and some freshly grated pepper jack.
5. Remove pork from slow cooker, and pull apart with two forks. Add a lovely portion of pork to each plate. Serve with dressing of your choosing (as I've said before, we usually have our salads dry as a bone).
salad recipe inspired by my visit to Shari's in July
pork recipe adapted from: the food network magazine