Cooking local: Blackberries and Pork

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Blackberries and Pork
Text and photos by Greta Hardin

I know, the strawberries are going, going …. gone. And you feel so very sad. You can stop now. It is Blackberry Time. Even if you don’t have the wherewithal or the desire, or the time to go hunt out blackberries, and brave the stickers, you can now get blackberries at the Farmers Market. (I know you see them at the grocery store, but resist. Those are almost always picked under-ripe to ship, and will be tart to bitter rather than heady-summer-sweet. And berries can’t ripen once picked. They just rot.)

Beyond the “no scratches”, these blackberries (boysenberries, marionberries etc.) have another advantage, the farmers have been hybridizing and selecting the best, and these babies are the size of your whole thumb! They are huge and rich and amazing. I have never run across their like in the wild.

Get at least four containers, as you or someone you know is going to eat one on the way home. Don’t worry, you used to eat them right off the vine as a kid, bugs and dirt and all – it just made you stronger, and it will do you good now. Especially if they are still warm from the sun.

You’ll also need some pork. For this one you’ll want a chop or a tenderloin. You are looking for a quick cooking piece of pork, rather than a slow cooking piece (like shoulder, ribs or belly). Ask the person selling the pork, and they’ll point you in the direction of something that will taste excellent when cooked quickly.

And before you depart the Farmers Market, also get yourself some greens – a sweet lettuce and something peppery like arugula or mizuna is a good bet, or maybe a little something bitter. Anyway, get a nice mixture – maybe even grab something you’ve been growing in the back (front/side) yard.

Last of all, pick up a sweet onion – it only needs to be a little salad sized one.

You will need one grocery store ingredient to bring together all the flavors for this salad – a lemon or a lime – or if you are feeling really adventurous a bottle of Ponzu sauce for an even deeper flavor.

You are about to make:


Blackberry Salad with Grilled Pork

(I like to eat mine with some garlic bread on the side)


Blackberries - 1 small green box (aka ½ pt or 1C)
Lime or Lemon - juice of ½ (or 1 Tbs Ponzu sauce)
Balsamic vinegar - 2 tsp
Salt & Pepper - to taste
Lettuce – 1 small head
Arugula (or mix of bitter/spicy greens) – 1 handful
Tasty olive oil

Pork Chops -2 (or a pork tenderloin)
Salt & Pepper
Lime or Lemon - juice from the other half
Oil – plain stuff just enough to lightly coat


Salad bowl
Salad servers
Measuring spoons
Salad Spinner (or kitchen towels)
Cutting board
Grill -or- Cast Iron pan & Oven
Small sharp knife
Tongs or spatula
(very good hot pad if using skillet)
2 Plates


Either turn on the grill to high heat or preheat your oven to 450F with the cast iron skillet set 4 inches under the broiler.

Separate the greens and give them a good rinse in plenty of water.  Spin or pat dry and set aside. Use the fork to crush 5 or 6 black berries in the salad bowl. 

Trim and thinly slice the sweet onion.  You'll need about 1/2C of thinly sliced onion.

Add the citrus juice(or Ponzu sauce), Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust until it is fruity, tangy and just enough salt. Set aside.

On 1 plate lay out the pork chops (or 1 in. thick slices of pork tenderloin).  Sprinkle with lemon juice and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Then sprinkle with oil.


Place the pork on the grill. (Or turn on the broiler and place the pork in the HOT HOT skillet, and place it under the broiler.) Let it cook for 1-2 minutes (longer for thicker chops - less for thinner). Flip the pork, cook for 1 more minute, then move the pork to a cooler (medium heat) part of the grill - or move the pan down a shelf in the oven.

Let the pork cook another 8 minutes.

While the pork is cooking, use the fork to stir a bit of tasty olive oil into you dressing base in the salad bowl. Make any adjustments in salt, pepper or vinegar. Add the greens, the rest of the blackberries and the sliced onion.  Toss to coat with the dressing.

Get back to the pork. Check the firmness. If it is still quite soft, flip it and let it cook 5 minutes more. If it is getting firm, and the juices run clear and just slightly pink, check inside for doneness. It should be barely rosy and then turn pale.  If it is firmly pink, it needs more time.

Keep both eyes on the pork until it is done.  As soon as it is, remove it to the clean plate. 

Let it rest a few minutes (while you make up some garlic toast).

Slice the pork thinly and serve with the blackberry salad. Summer has arrived! 

Saturdays through October 4th
The Shoreline Farmers Market at Shoreline City Hall
Top level of the Parking Structure (Free Parking underneath)
17500 Midvale Ave N, Shoreline

Sundays through October 26th
10am to 3pm
Lower Level Parking Lot (Free Parking in surrounding spots)
17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park

Greta Hardin is a science teacher, food nerd, and the author of Cooking Your Local Produce: A cookbook for tackling Farmers Markets, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and your own back yard.


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