Sunday, August 19, 2012

Grilled Stuffed Pork Tenderloin & Plum/Avocado Salad

Cooks Illustrated kitchen fine tunes other recipes and then shares why it works.  I've made this a couple of times and it's really good.  Butterflying and pounding a 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin gives a larger surface area for the filling, which is then rolled and trussed with twine.
Their recipe serves 4 to 6, I cut this in half and it was plenty for 3 people.
4 tsp packed dark brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 tsp pepper
2 (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
about 1 Cup of stuffing per tenderloin  (see notes)
1 C baby spinach
2 Tb olive oil
Combine sugar, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper in a bowl.  Cut each tenderloin in half horizontally, stopping 1/2" away from edge so halves remain attached.  Open up tenderloins, cover with plastic wrap, and pound to 1/4" thickness.  Trim any ragged edges to create a rough rectangle about 10" x 6".  Sprinkle interior of each tenderloin with 1/8 tsp of both salt and pepper.
With long side of pork facing you, spread half of the stuffing mixture over bottom half of one tenderloin then top with 1/2 cup of spinach.  Roll away from you into a tight cylinder, taking care not to squeeze the stuffing out ends.  Position tenderloin seam side down, evenly space 5 pieces twine underneath and tie.  Repeat with remaining tenderloin, stuffing and spinach.
For a charcoal grill:  Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes.  When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill.  Set cooking grate in place, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
For a gas grill:  Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes.  Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burners.
Clean and oil cooking grate.  Coat pork with oil, then rub entire surface with brown sugar mixture.  Place pork on cooler side of grill, cover, and cook until center of stuffing registers 140 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pork once halfway through cooking.
Transfer pork to carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove twine, slice pork into 1/2" thick slices, and serve.
Notes:  I sauteed 1/4 cup chopped onion, 8-10 chopped kalamata olives, and a half cup of sliced mushrooms in 1 1/2 Tb each of butter and olive oil.  Then added 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs, rather than using a stuffing mix.  Keep in mind this was for only one tenderloin.

This very unusual plum and avocado salad makes the most of seasonal produce and comes from Food52.  

Plum Avocado Summer Salad
Serves 4
2 medium ripe Avocados
5 medium sized ripe black plums
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 small clove of garlic
several pinches sea salt
1 medium lemon
a few glugs of olive oil
1 dried red chili pepper
Peel the plums and cut into cubes
Peel the avocado and cut into cubes.
Gently place the black plum and avocado chunks into a dish -- be careful not to mix too much.  Squeeze with lemon and sprinkle in a couple pinches of sea salt.  Do not mix.
Using a mortar and pestle, smash the garlic clove with a little salt.  Add the red chili pepper and continue crushing (should still be in big messy chunks).  Add the cilantro and continue to mash until the ingredients are combined.  Drizzle in 1/4 cup of olive oil to make the dressing, mashing well.
Spoon the dressing over the plums and avocado.  Salt to taste.  Let the salad sit for 10 minutes to soak in a bit; it's even better the next day.
Notes: Use less than ¼ cup of oil.  I replaced the chili with fresh jalapeno, and added some pineapple tomatillos.  My tree is full of small red plums and I did not peel them.  Crumbled blue cheese sprinkled on top might be worth a try.

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