Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin & Ginger Plum Salsa

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Pork on the Grill

Asian Marinated Pork

So many plums, so little time. The countdown is on for the end of the stone fruit season, but right now you can find perhaps a dozen plum varieties at both your local farmers’ market or supermarket. A recent stroll down the grocery aisle revealed Pluots of the red, green, and dinosaur varieties, as well as Sunrise Reds, Midnight Moons, Damson, Greengage, Mirabelle and Stanley Rubies. The colors both outside and in reflect the rainbow. I love buying a few of each so that chopped and mixed you can create a colorful salsa with tastes that run from tart to sweet, then pump that flavor further with fresh lime, crystallized ginger and loads of fresh mint. 

Plum Varieties

Plums are an essential flavor in many Asian cuisines, but especially Japanese and Chinese. While neither the salsa nor the pork marinade are authentic, they reflect my modern update on classic cuisines using the palate of flavors and pantry staples that represent their birth regions. I first traveled to both Japan and China shortly after my year-long stint in four kitchens in France, where I drilled down on classic techniques. That travel, more than anything else in my life, transformed both my palate and thoughts toward technique, opting for less reliance on fat-first flavor and relying more heavily on quick cooking techniques and bold aromatics, like ginger. It has been said I am a fiend for ginger. That is no lie. 

Grating Ginger

I found this bamboo ginger grater on one of my trips, and it is much easier to clean and gives a higher yield of grated ginger than a microplane. If you ever see one, snag it. The two recipes in this post rely on crystallized ginger for the salsa (love the little texture contrast that crystallized gives when mixed with fruit) and fresh for the marinade. Fresh ginger is also a terrific meat tenderizer, so this marinade works well with less primo cuts of meat. 

Asian Marinade Ingredients

Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin

This marinade recipe in its first iteration came about from a bet with the great Josh Wesson, lord of all things food and wine pairing. Once during Aspen’s Food & Wine Classic, he smugly dared me to serve up blue fish in any possible way that would EVER pair with a wine. Once thought to be too oily to be wine-friendly, the pesky poisson was handily tamed by this robust marinade. I WON. I don’t remember where we landed for the wine, but believe it was a Gewurztraminer or something in the Alsatian family.  The marinade went on to earn me a spot in the Gourmet Magazine Healthy Menu Awards final round, and in yet another reboot it was featured  in Great Women Chefs. Until I saw the parade of plums this week, I had not thought of the marinade in quite a while, but dusted it off and tweaked a few ratios and ingredients, and it’s just as full of flavor (and simple to prepare) as I remember. And as is required to qualify for my list of favorite “dump and stir” recipes, this Asian marinated pork lets some of the store-bought ingredients like black bean garlic paste and hoisin do the heavy lifting, flavor-wise.  

Marinating Pork

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Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin & Ginger Plum Salsa

Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin

5 from 1 reviews

With all the plums in season right now, it’s the perfect time to whip up a little Asian-inspired Ginger Plum Salsa. And what could be better than serving that with this flavor-rich and a snap to prepare Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin?

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes (plus marinating time)
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Asian

Ingredients

Ginger Plum Salsa

  • 2 cups pitted and diced plums (assorted varieties, about 4 or 5 plums)
  • 1/2 cup diced, peeled cucumber
  • 2 Tablespoons minced red onion or 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • Juice of one lime (about 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons chiffonade (thin ribbons) of fresh mint

Asian Marinade

  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons grated ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon hoisin
  • 1 Tablespoon black bean garlic paste
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

2 1-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin and fat

Instructions

Make Ginger Plum Salsa

Combine the plums, cucumber and red onion (or scallions) in a small bowl. 

In another small bowl, whisk together the fresh lime juice, honey, crystallized ginger and red pepper flakes.  Pour over the fruit and stir to combine.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add the mint just before serving.

Makes 2 1/2 cups

Make Asian Marinade

Combine all marinade ingredients and marinate the pork at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.  If you are marinating for more than 1 hour, refrigerate, covered.

Grill Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Remove meat from marinade and pat dry.  Start over a hot grill to mark, then cook on a cooler part of the grill (with the lid down) about 20-30 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145oF.  Alternatively cook in a 425oF until meat reaches temperature, 20-35 minutes.

Remove from the grill or oven and let rest 10 minutes before carving.

Serve alongside ginger plum salsa. 

Ginger Plum Salsa

Fresh mint and lime juice really elevate the flavors in the salsa and brighten the whole plate. 

Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin and Ginger Plum Salsa

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8 Comments

  1. Lenann McGookey Gardner says:

    So, um, it’s 9 o’clock in the morning and I’ve got a full workday in front of me … but I want this! Thanks, Katy, for your inspiring recipe!

    • Katy Keck says:

      And then once you taste it, you will want more. Now you see my problem being a “fiend for ginger” and all! Make it happen, Lenann. You won’t be sorry!

  2. Jaala says:

    Hey Katy, looks amazing! Where would one find crystalized ginger?
    Thanks,
    Jaala

    • Katy Keck says:

      You can usually get it in the spice section in a small jar but that is likely to be overpriced, in the same way buying vanilla beans like that is expensive. Try Health Hutt (or any local health food store) who might sell it in bulk. Or Trader Joe’s for sure has lovely perfect slices in 12-ounce bags. All the marinade ingredients are available at the grocery in the Asian section. Hope you enjoy it!

  3. Lisa Herman says:

    Looks amazing! Would this work with chicken, as well? You’ve got me wanting to try the ginger plum marinade and salsa on as many things as I can!

  4. Emily says:

    This looks and sounds fantastic Katy! I’ll definitely be giving it a try.

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