Thursday, May 2, 2013

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Apple Butter, Rapini, and Rosemary Vinaigrette

Thus far, in the 6 weeks since we'd become Florida residents, I'd cooked some veggies (asparagus and scallions), sausages, and fish on the Canteen grill, but now I was looking to branch out a little further with a pork dish. Diving into my recipe library, I found a grilled pork tenderloin recipe in Chef Stephanie Izard's Girl in the Kitchen cookbook that seemed to fit the bill. The pork in this case is marinated overnight in a mixture of garlic, thyme, olive oil, and sambal, which is a chili paste popular in Southeast Asian and Indonesian cuisine. Given that sambal is a bit exotic (none to be found at Publix), I was able to track down a jar of it at my local Filipino grocery, the same one that sold me the Magnolia Ice Cream (I'm getting to be friends with the staff there). I have since discovered that sambal not only pairs well with pork (in small doses, I might add - the spice level is a little on the aggressive side), but also with seafood like shrimp, so it now has a place in my condiment hall-of-fame. Anyway, the remainder of the dish includes an apple butter (when prepared appears to really be more like applesauce), a vegetable called rapini (also known as broccoli rabe), and a rosemary vinaigrette. I'd never worked with rapini before (the produce guy at Publix had to point it out to me in the vegetable case) - although it resembles a leafier form of broccoli, it's actually in the mustard green family. Chef Steph's version of the stuff is boiled for a few minutes (like most greens, it cooks down fast and compactly), blanched, and mixed with bacon crumbles to make a pleasantly bitter garnish that counters the sweetness of the apple butter and the savory of the pork.

I should note that the vinaigrette in this recipe is pretty robust (calls for 1/4 c. of fresh rosemary, which is quite a lot) and goes a long way. I managed to use the leftovers as a manly salad dressing for a couple of days after the fact until the rosemary aroma was practically wafting from my pores.

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