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Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin & Ginger Plum Salsa

Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin & Ginger Plum Salsa

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

Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin & Ginger Plum Salsa


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

Description

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?


Ingredients

Scale

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. 

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes (plus marinating time)
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Asian

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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© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2017. All rights reserved.

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Spiced Cranberry Ginger Kumquat Chutney

Spiced Cranberry Ginger Kumquat Chutney

Spicy Chutney

 

Nothing screams holidays like cranberries, citrus and spice. Mulled wine, orange pomanders (that’s fancy talk for oranges poked full of cloves), and cranberry garlands. So imagine my delight when the good people from the healthy living site Mambo Sprouts shot me a box of the finest spices to review. Squealing! I like to make edible gifts for the holidays – are you with me? We really don’t need one more thing to dust or store. But devour? Hells yeah! Last year I made cheese wafers and put them in a nice little cracker dish (okay, one more thing to store).

Last Year's Cheese Wafers with Cardamom

This year I have on my radar some spice blends and chutney. What’s that you say? Chutney is weird? No, no. Ain’t so. Yes. You are right. But only if you are referring to the more traditional, pungent (read: medicinal tasting) versions that are fortified with mustard oil and strong vinegar. This Anglo spin balances its tarts with equal measure sweets (sugar, dried cranberries and candied ginger), and the acid from kumquats (unlike strong vinegar) borders on sweet. It’s practically dessert, wink wink. It can be the perfect foil to too-rich-double-crème brie or the right amount of sweetness to tangy goat cheese. One chutney can do both! Spicy (think turmeric, allspice and cinnamon), zippy (crystallized ginger), tart (kumquats and crans) and sweet (yeah, there’s some sugar – but not as much, by half, of what you would normally see.)

Kumquats, Crans & Ginger

Palate. Passion. Purpose.

You already know I’m all about this, right? But I have met my match in partnering with Frontier Co-op. A purpose-driven company, Frontier’s theme is Cook with Purpose. Every bottle contains products with a story and the label tells that story. Frontier, as one of the earliest to advocate organics, firmly believes that social responsibility is the foundation for great products and that sustainable agriculture and ethical sourcing yield quality. Since their 1976 Iowa founding (in a river cabin!), they have worked with growers worldwide to build a safe food supply. A large part of that is education and they have created charitable funds (three to be exact) that train farmers and co-ops on how to protect themselves and the environment. The turmeric, sourced in Sri Lanka, was produced by a co-op that benefited from a Frontier grant which enabled an organic training center for the farmers. The cinnamon is Vietnamese. Frontier provided its producers with educational supplies, beds, room & board so the children in these remote communities can be educated. Worldwide, producers are blessed by the generosity of Frontier providing so many basics, ranging from clean water to roads to medical care. Frontier is on a mission – responsibility to people and planet. And btw interesting timing…our paths crossing now. I’m a month away from joining the board of CWS, a global agency with key initiatives in sustainability, hunger, development, and advocacy, among other important work. #fullcircle  Frontier had me at Purpose!

Spicing It Up!

Armed with my box of Frontier Co-op goodies, and knowing it’s the time of year when warm spices soothe the soul, I decided to dose this chutney with Vietnamese cinnamon, turmeric, and allspice. The great thing about warm spices is they can flow from sweet to savory, and in fact this chutney does a bit of both. I spent some time a few years ago in southern India and learned more about Ayurvedic cooking. (I also learned a thing or two – first hand – about Ayurvedic massage. Ever have a massage by two people with a whole lotta oil and choreographed moves? Inner-resting! But, that’s for another post.)

Ready to Cook with Purpose!

A word…or two…about the star ingredients – the spices!

  • Quality cinnamon is different from supermarket cinnamon (generally cassia) due to its super high oil content, a result of specific harvesting techniques. This Vietnamese (fka Saigon) cinnamon has at least a 5% oil content, which makes it more than double the regular stuff. That results in an abundance of flavor, but especially the pungent, sweet and spicy notes. It also means a little bit goes a long way. The difference in color compared with supermarket brands is remarkable.
  • You may remember that Buddha Bowl post with fresh turmeric from the winter. While it’s lovely to source fresh ingredients, chances are that rhizome has been on the road a while. If you want real flavor, reach for a quality dried spice. Often called Indian saffron, turmeric – a member of the ginger family – not only gives curry its bright golden color, but it also adds a pepperiness that makes it a regular in Asian cuisine.
  • And our old friend allspice – I just used it in that yummy pumpkin chia pudding recipe.  While it seemingly combines cinnamon + clove + nutmeg and has a very big name, it’s just a single spice and it hails from Jamaica. No doubt you have seen it as an essential ingredient in jerk chicken. It is in fact the unripe berry of a small evergreen. How very Christmasy!

Let’s get to it!

Spiced Cranberry Chutney

Spiced Cranberry Ginger Kumquat Chutney

In a medium non-reactive saucepan, combine the cranberries, kumquats, sugar, applesauce, and lemon juice. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the cranberries begin to pop, about 5 minutes.

Add the dried cranberries, crystallized ginger, vanilla extract, cinnamon, allspice, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Continue simmering until the fruit is softened and the chutney is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes more.

Remove from heat and let cool completely. Refrigerate, covered, and serve at room temperature.

Makes 3 cups.

Serving Suggestions:  This is great with roast meats, slathered on a sammie, or served alongside or atop cheeses. If you warm it up,  it will thin a bit and it makes the best glaze for your Christmas ham.

Chutney & Cheese

Serving and Giving Notes

The chutney can be made up to 1 week in advance, and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. It will easily last several weeks, but I’m just not going to tell you to prepare it weeks ahead.  Scraping the last bit out of the bottom of the jar 3 weeks in? Well, that’s a different story. By all means!

If you are making this to give as a gift, make sure to sterilize the jars (glass only, please), and let your giftee know this has not been canned, needs to be refrigerated, and is for current consumption.

Chutney & More Cheese

© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2016. All rights reserved.

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Plum Glazed Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa

Plum Glazed Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa

This ‘Taste of the Tropics’ works all year long. Throw the shrimp on the grill in the summer, or broil when it’s too cold outside, while dosing up on the Vitamin C from the zesty tropical fruit salsa.

 

Plum Glazed Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa

  • 1 1/2 cups Peanut Plum Glaze
  • 3 cups Pineapple Salsa
  • 2 pounds cleaned 16-20 Shrimp, tail on
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Coconut Peanut Rice
  • Cilantro Sprigs

 

Prepare the Peanut Plum Glaze:

  • ¾ cup plum jam
  • ½ cup crunchy natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno

Simmer all ingredients in a saucepan until reduced by about 1/3rd and thickened, about 15 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
Makes 1 ½ cups

Prepare the Pineapple Salsa:

  • 1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced papaya
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 cup diced mango
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tablespoons minced red onion
  • 2 Tablespoons minced scallions
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped mint

Combine the papaya with the fresh lime juice. Add the remaining ingredients, except mint, and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add the mint just before serving.
Makes 3 cups

Prepare the shrimp:

Soak 12 8”-bamboo skewers in water for 15 minutes. Prepare grill or heat broiler.

Thread 3 shrimp per skewer and brush with olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook the shrimp on the grill, until desired doneness, about 2 minutes per side. During the last 30 seconds on each side, brush on the glaze. Transfer to a sheet pan, and brush again with the glaze.

Prepare the Coconut Peanut Rice:                                                           

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice, such as Basmati
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¾ cup chopped scallion
  • ¾ cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup toasted chopped peanuts

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid.

Add the onion and sauté until transparent, about 5 minutes.

Add the rice and stir to coat until the rice turns opaque, about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cover the pan tightly and cook until all liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked through but not gummy, about 20 minutes.

Fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the scallions, toasted coconut and peanuts. Serve immediately

 

To Serve:

Mound the coconut peanut rice in the center of the plate. Cross two skewers of shrimp on top of the rice. Spoon the pineapple salsa over the shrimp.

Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Serves 6

Island Ceviche with Tropical Fruit

Island Ceviche with Tropical Fruit

Island Ceviche with Tropical Fruit

Taste the Tropics.  Lime-cured fish, spicy jalapeños and tropical fruit.  It’s a fruity fresh twist on a traditional recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/2 pound bay scallops, trimmed of muscle
  • 1/2 pound salmon fillet, cut in ½ “ pieces
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 3 scallions, sliced on diagonal
  • 1 minced jalapeno
  • 1 cup lime juice, or enough to cover
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 mango, diced
  • 1 pink grapefruit, cut in sections and diced, juice reserved
  • 1 orange, cut in sections and diced, juice reserved
  • Salt and pepper

Garnish: Fried Plantain Chips

Directions

Blanch the shrimp in boiling water, for 1 – 2 minutes, until no longer translucent. Drain and refresh in cold water. Cut into 1/2″ pieces.

Combine shrimp, scallops, salmon, red pepper, scallions, jalapeno, and lime juice. Refrigerate, covered, for 2 – 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Drain off most of the liquid. Whisk together olive oil, orange juice, and cilantro. Pour over fish and add mango, grapefruit, orange and their juices. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Garnish with fried plantain chips

Serves 10-12