Variations of these Moorish-inspired, grilled skewers abound throughout Spain, where they are served as a hot tapa. Some versions use saffron and a whole raft of other spices in the marinade, such as ground fennel and smoked paprika. The Moors wouldn't have eaten pork so it’s likely Spanish Christians introduced the idea. Feel free to use lamb, beef or even duck as alternatives.
- 1 kg pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tsp ground coriander
- 3 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra, for cooking
- 2½ tbsp lemon juice
- 16 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
- rustic bread rolls, to serve
Chilli-garlic sauce (mojo picon)
- 75 g (2 slices) day old rustic bread, crusts removed
- 160 ml (⅔ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes, or to taste
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1½ tbsp sherry vinegar, or to taste
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) boiling water, approximately
- 500 g baby roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthways
- 1½ tbsp sherry vinegar
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 130 g (¾ cup) dried black olives
- large handful coriander sprigs
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 3 hours or overnight
Cut the pork into 3 cm pieces. Combine the ground cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano, pepper and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in the garlic, oil and lemon juice, add the pork then use your hands to rub the mixture all over the pork. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Drain well then thread the pork onto the skewers and season well with sea salt.
Meanwhile, for the garlic-chilli sauce, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium. Add the bread and fry for about 4 minutes, turning once, or until light golden then remove the bread and cool, reserving the oil. Tear or cut the bread into small pieces then combine in a food processor with all the remaining ingredients except the water. Process until a thick paste forms then gradually add the reserved olive oil and process until a smooth, thick sauce forms. Add enough boiling water to thin the mixture slightly (you may need more or less water, depending on the bread used), then add a little more vinegar and chilli flakes if desired. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a barbecue or chargrill pan to medium-high. Brush the pork all over with oil then cook in batches, turning often, for 8 minutes or until just cooked through. For the salad, place the tomato wedges in a bowl, drizzle over the vinegar and olive oil and scatter over the olives and coriander. Season to taste. Serve the pork skewers with the bread, tomato salad and sauce spooned over.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Peta Gray. Creative concept by Lou Fay.