It’s been hard to ignore the Paleo diet in the past few years, and we have Loren Cordain to thank for the renewed love of steak, coconut oil and cauliflower.
The former nutrition and exercise researcher at the University of Colorado created the term in 1987, and now he is putting his knowledge about the Stone Age-inspired diet to work in the kitchen through cookbooks. (Paleo fans in Austin will be happy to know that the Paleo(fx) Conference is returning May 27-29.)
His newest is “Real Paleo Fast & Easy” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $29.99), a collection of weeknight recipes that you could feed a family without complaint that there are no grains or white potatoes. Like many Paleo books, Cordain wants you to spend some time each week prepping vegetables, spice mixes and sauces that complete the dishes, like this ground pork patty — with cauliflower rice, of course, a Paleo staple — that’s cut into pieces and fried until the edges are crisp.
Crispy Spicy Pork with Herbs
This unusual method of cooking pork calls for 1 pound of meat to be divided into two large patties and then cooked over medium-high heat until browned and very crisp. The patties are then broken up into pieces; seasoned with smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, cumin and garlic; and cooked until done. The result is fabulously crispy chunks of pork served over cauliflower rice studded with toasted almonds and lemon zest.
— Loren Cordain
1 lb. ground pork
3 Tbsp. coconut oil, divided
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley
1/4 cup snipped fresh mint
Lemon wedges or crushed red pepper, for serving (optional)
Form pork into two 1/4-inch-thick patties. In an extra-large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Place patties in skillet; cook 3 minutes or until bottoms are browned and very crisp. Carefully turn patties and cook 3 minutes more or until second sides are browned and crisp. Reduce heat to medium. Break patties into small pieces; add smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, cumin and garlic. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until spices are fragrant and meat is cooked through.
Meanwhile, in a food processor pulse cauliflower (in batches if necessary) until the pieces are the size of rice. In a large skillet cook cauliflower rice in the remaining coconut oil over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender and just beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in almonds and lemon zest.
Serve pork over cauliflower rice; sprinkle with parsley, mint and, if desired, additional crushed red pepper and lemon wedges. Serves 4.
— From “Real Paleo Fast & Easy” by Loren Cordain (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $29.99)