A week off in the Landes region of France (just next to Bordeaux along the Atlantic Ocean French coast) was an opportunity to rediscover the culinary traditions of Medoc. Among the very few meats that our ancestors ate was pork because each family was able to raise a pig and that, according to the tale “in pig, everything is good”. Some pigs were fed with acorn and chestnuts, which gave even better taste to the meat. Near the ocean, fish were considered as kings and other meat – lamb and beef – were only consumed only for special occasions and celebrations. Vauban, the famous military architect who officiated in the region, wrote in one of his books dedicated to pork “There are no peasant, even very poor, that cannot raise his own pig.”
I stop here the historic part. The fact is that all pieces of pork were prepared in many different ways, depending on their nature, but also as deli meat in order to be kept several month and be eaten all winter long. Dried and salted was commonplace. This region still produces much deli pork.
I offer here a pork filet mignon tenderloin recipe. The rule is simple: 20 days and 20 hours. 20 days in coarse salt to slowly cook the meat, then 20 hours in the water to desalinate a bit. Then seasoned and left at least 2 more days so that the meat get the wished firmness.
Dried tenderloin pork can be eaten as deli meat for appetizer or as a side of a mixed salad.
The process is quite long so, even if there is not much to do, you have to start at least 3 weeks in advance. When it’s done, you can store it in your refrigerator in the dish towel for about 2 weeks (or more but I’ll become little by little firm).