Pork Medallions Marinated with Olives and Orange


Against the Grain

Published by William Morrow

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

The flavor of the pork improves if it marinates for at least six, but better yet twenty-four, hours. Serving various meats and fish over light vegetable and legume broths is something I picked up from a friend and chef here in Athens. Spinach and black-eyed peas are often stewed together in Greece. In this version, the flavors are clean and light; all the heartiness comes from the intensely flavored medallions. This dish makes a great dinner party entree. The black-eyed pea and spinach mixture can be prepared separately and served with a simple piece of grilled or pan-fried white-fleshed fish, too, or with grilled steak.

6 servings

Cooking Methodsauteeing


Total Timea day or more

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Texturefruity, garlicky, meaty, salty, tangy


  • Juice of ½ orange
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Kalamata olive tapenade
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine
  • One 1½-pound pork loin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch-thick pieces
  • ¾ cup dried black-eyed peas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cilantro sprigs
  • 3 parsley sprigs
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed but left whole
  • 2 to 3 fennel fronds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 1½ cups defrosted, well-drained frozen chopped spinach or ½ pound fresh spinach, steamed, chopped, and drained
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


  1. Combine the orange juice, tapenade, minced garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and wine in a large bowl. Add the pork medallions, toss well, cover, and refrigerate for 3 to 24 hours.

  2. Place the black-eyed peas with enough water to cover by 1½ inches in a medium saucepan to a boil over high heat. Drain into a colander, and place back in the pot with fresh water, again enough to cover by 1½ inches, and place over high heat. Add the bay leaf, cilantro and parsley sprigs, whole garlic clove, and fennel fronds. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until almost tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste a few minutes before removing from the heat.

  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, and garlic slivers and stirring, and sauté until glossy and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach. Season with salt and white pepper to taste and sprinkle in the hot pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook over until the spinach is wilted. When the black-eyed peas are almost done and have absorbed nearly all their liquid (there should be a little left in the pot), remove from the heat. Remove and discard the cilantro and parsley sprigs, bay leaf, and whole garlic clove. Pour the contents of the pot into the skillet, mix well, cover, and simmer another 10 to 12 minutes, until black-eyed peas are soft.

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy nonstick skillet, add the pork medallions, and sear on both sides. Lower the heat a little and continue cooking for a total of 8 to 10 minutes, until the pork is cooked through but still tender. Remove. Drizzle the vinegar and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil into the black-eyed pea and spinach mixture.

  5. Place about 1 cup of the black-eyed pea mixture in a soup bowl and place 2 pork medallions on top. Serve hot.

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