T and I have been on vacation this week. The first half of the week we lounged on the beach, our toes in the sand, drinking White Russians (“Caucasians” to all you Lebowski fans.) The latter half we’ve spent lounging on the couch, eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts, (drinking more White Russians), and watching movies.
Before our vacation we made a pact to begin eating healthier and decided to start by having salads for dinner. I know, I know… what a terrible decision to make right before going on vacation. (But salads for dinner cancel-out doughnuts and liquor for breakfast and lunch, right?)
Being the thrifty vacationers that we are, we not only stayed at the beach for free (!), we also saved money by cooking our own meals and eating in.
It just so happened that T had a pork tenderloin in the freezer. (The tenderloin that he hesitated to buy, saying, “I don’t know how to cook a tenderloin!” To which I replied, “It’s easy. I’ll teach you.”) Easy and DELICIOUS. This is my new favourite pork loin recipe. It’s so good, we might just have it every night, (or at least once a week.)
I tweaked the salad dressing and ” accoutrement” to better suit our tastes. Quite frankly, the “vinaigrette” (which didn’t even have vinegar in it!) that was listed with the recipe was disgusting. I whipped-up a fresh ginger and honey vinaigrette that was perfectly paired with the meat. T was practically licking the glaze out of the pan and trying to figure out what else we could put it on. Spread on banana bread? Drizzled over fruit and yogurt? Mixed with the White Russians?
The great thing about pork loin is that you can make several meals out of one loin. We had tenderloin sandwiches the next two days for lunch. (And T finally found a use for the extra glaze: smothering his sandwich.)
Pork Tenderloin Salad
1-2 pork tenderloins (some tenderloins come in packages of two)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon Tabasco (or Texas Pete)
(Left-over glaze can be saved to eat on delicious, day-after pork loin sandwiches!)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Note: This vinaigrette was first made on the fly (ie. I didn’t measure anything!) Vinaigrettes aren’t an exact science, so just go for it. The more you practice, the more you’ll get a feel for how much of each ingredient you need (and what a “good” vinaigrette tastes like!)
Spring mix (or spinach), about 3 handfulls per plate
Thinly sliced Nappa cabbage, about 2 cups
1-2 cups seedless red grades, halved
1/3 cup craisins
1 firm, ripe avocado, sliced
Prepare the pork
Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon. Coat both sides of pork with rub.
Heat olive oil in a cast-iron frying pan (or heavy ovenproof skillet) over moderately high heat until it just begins to smoke. Brown pork, turning after 2 minutes, for about 4 minutes total. Leave pork in skillet.
Stir together brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco and pat onto top of tenderloin. Place skillet on center rack of oven for approximately 20 minutes. Pork is cooked when small slice shows a white center and juices run clear. Remove from oven and let pork rest in skillet for 10 minutes.
Prepare the salad
While the pork is roasting, vigorously shake together ginger, honey, lemon juice, vinegar, and oil in a lidded glass jar.
Wash spring mix and spin (I love my salad spinner!) or pat dry. Wash and slice Nappa cabbage. Toss greens with vinaigrette to thoroughly coat. Add grapes and craisins and toss again. Peel and pit avocado and slice. Hold off on adding avocado until the salad is plated. (You don’t want to destroy the avocado by tossing it in the salad.)
Assemble the salad!
Cut pork at a 45-degree angle into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Using tongs, divvy out salad mix onto plates. Place sliced pork and avocado on top of greens and serve!
Recipe Source: adapted from epicurious.com