When Daniel Montano, CEC, Executive Chef of The Berkshire Country Club (Reading, Pa.), first received his cuts of pork secreto, he thought: “What an ugly-looking piece of meat.”
“I didn’t receive the best-looking cuts of secreto,” he says. “It was the awkward size, shape and thickness of my hand.”
Luckily, it was nothing meat glue, plastic wrap and a water bath couldn’t fix. Now, the aspect of his Secreto Ibérico he’s most proud of is the “flavor, shape and tenderness of the pork.”
“As Chefs, we are always met with obstacles,” says Montano. “The cut of secreto stumped me for a few moments. Sometime you just have to think outside of the box.”
Club + Resort Chef (C+RC): Tell us about the initial inspiration for this recipe?
Daniel Montano (DM): I love all pork and bean combinations. Brazilian feijoada is probably one of my favorite pork and bean dishes.
This dish was created for a Spanish wine dinner at the club, hence all the other flavors in this recipe. Maybe [it’s] not a classic Spanish dish, but the Spanish flavors should be there.
C+RC: How would you describe the flavors?
DM: The sherry wine and vinegar is the backbone in this dish. It adds a wonderful depth and acidity, keeping the bites of the fatty ibérico pork fresh—and addictive—in every bite.
The walnuts give the dish texture and crunch. You gotta have crunch! Have you ever compressed a green apple in ginger ale? It’s amazing.
C+RC: Why do you believe it is an important or successful dish?
DM: All of the ingredients and flavors in this dish are very familiar, and the plateup is simple and clean. Club Chefs know most members look for simple/familiar flavors and enjoy them.