Pork with a fresh take on salsa and grilled cherries
AP Photo | Matthew Mead
By this point in the summer, I've had about all the burgers, dogs and birds I can handle. It's time to try something a little different on the grill.
And one thing most of us don't do nearly enough of — grilled fruit. Not only is grilled fruit crazy delicious — thanks to the intense heat caramelizing all the natural sugars — it also pairs perfectly with savory meats.
So to help us all get out of our late summer grilling ruts, I came up with this easy recipe for pork tenderloin cutlets topped with grilled cherry salsa.
And if cherries aren't your thing, feel free to substitute apricots, plums, nectarines, even grapes. They all grill up deliciously. For the grapes, just leave them right on the vine and toss them on the grill the way they are. That way you won't need to chase rolling grapes around on the grill. They are easily removed from the vine after they cool.
PORK TENDERLOIN CUTLETS WITH GRILLED CHERRY SALSA
Before starting the recipe, compare the size of your cherries to the size of the grates on your grill. If the cherries are likely to fall through the gaps, use a grill pan over the grates. Most grocers sell disposable perforated foil grill pans that work perfectly for this.
Start to finish: 45 minutes
2 pounds pork tenderloins
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
1 small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Cut the tenderloin crosswise into rounds about 1 inch thick. One at a time, set each round between sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to pound to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch.
Transfer the flattened pork cutlets to a large zip-close plastic bag. Add the fish sauce, then shake to coat all of the pork. Squeeze the air from the bag, seal it and set side. This step can be done up to 24 hours ahead.
When ready to cook, heat the grill to high.
In a medium bowl, toss the cherries with 1 tablespoon of the oil until well coated. Carefully pour the cherries onto the grill grates and grill until lightly charred in spots and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Use tongs to return the cherries to the bowl. Set aside to cool slightly. Leave the grill on.
Once the cherries have cooled, add the onion, garlic, vinegar and cilantro. Mix well, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the bag of pork, then shake to coat. Grill the tenderloins for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Arrange the cutlets on 6 serving plates, then top each with some of the grilled cherry salsa.
Nutrition information per serving: 240 calories; 70 calories from fat (29 percent of total calories); 8 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 100 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 32 g protein; 590 mg sodium.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch . Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org