In Mexico City, countless joints specialize in tacos al pastor, carved off a spit like the shawarma from which it is derived, but with the delectable addition of pineapple (and with tortillas, naturally, instead of pita).
This adaptation for the home cook translates the spit-roasted pork into spicy thin cutlets and combines the traditional garnishes of onion, cilantro, pineapple and lime into a quick salsa.
- 2 3-ounce pork cutlets, trimmed of excess fat (may substitute boneless center-cut pork chops)
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh pineapple juice
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried pasilla or ancho chili pepper (may substitute crushed red pepper flakes)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 3 grind black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks, diced
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 medium jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 medium lime (about 1 tablespoon juice)
- 2 6-inch corn tortillas
Place each pork cutlet between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound to a thickness of about 1/8 inch.
Combine the vinegar, pineapple juice, smoked Spanish paprika, chili pepper, salt and pepper in a large resealable plastic food storage bag; mix well, then add the cutlets. Press the air out of the bag and seal; massage the marinade into the meat. Let sit for at least 10 minutes while you make the salsa and warm the tortillas.
Combine the diced pineapple, cilantro, chopped shallot and jalapeno pepper in a small bowl. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime into the bowl. Add salt to taste and mix well.
Place a large skillet over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is quite hot. Spray the corn tortillas lightly on both sides with nonstick cooking oil spray and place in the skillet to cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute; then use tongs to turn them over and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the tortillas are lightly spotted with brown. Transfer to a plate.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Remove the cutlets from the marinade, shaking off any excess, and place in the heated skillet. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then turn them over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until browned and just cooked throughout. Turn off the heat and let the cutlets rest for a minute, then place 1 cutlet on each tortilla. Top each with pineapple salsa and serve immediately.
From Food editor Joe Yonan.
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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