Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pork Tenderloin Salad with Blueberries, Oranges, and Sherry-Honey Vinaigrette

 I could look in my mom's frig and think there was nothing at all to eat in there.  I might even be found staring blindly into the freezer, hoping something would come to me.  Usually it was ice cream.  But let my mom loose in that kitchen and in record time, there was a full meal on the table.  Practice makes perfect.  The early bird gets the worm.  Hunger makes the best sauce.  Desperation is the mother of invention.  Whatever.  She knew how to bring it, as they say.  It seemed miraculous.

I find myself in her shoes these days--at least in some ways.  I peer in the frig, nod my head to one side, and start grabbing.  As I grab, a plan often unfolds.  A bit of cheese, a few slices of meat, some fruit and greens.  Soon a salad or a leftover fry-up takes shape; sometimes it's an omelet with some thick toast and jam to round out the meal.  This time it was a pork tenderloin salad for lunch.   Two of them, in fact.

There was enough meat for sandwiches, but we're not eating many sandwiches lately as we're still fighting off the Christmas pounds. (Though sandwiches are the easy way out.)  There was a peeled orange; I'd used the orange rind to make an apple crostata for Dave's Valentine's Day gift and what was I to do with it?  We don't usually eat oranges, but a little bit in a salad sounded fine.

 I had five minutes to make something as Dave needed to eat and get back to work, so I set out two large shallow bowls and began tossing stuff in.  Here's what transpired:

Pork Tenderloin Salad with Blueberries, Oranges, and Sherry-Honey Vinaigrette
                        serves 1
  •  2 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup shredded kale
  • 1/2 cup cooked and sliced or chopped pork tenderloin (or beef, or chicken, or salmon)
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • Segments from half and orange, trimmed 
  • 2-3 small slices brie or other cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1t fresh lemon juice
  • Dressing (recipe below)
Add the greens to a large shallow bowl (I like a pasta bowl for this salad.)  At center, arrange pork and  surround with berries, oranges, and cheeseSprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with lemon juice.  Add vinaigrette to taste and toss well before serving cold or at room temperature.

Vinaigrette:  Whisk together 1 T sherry vinegar, 1/4 tsp each honey and Dijon-style mustard and a pinch each of salt and pepper.  Slowly drizzle in 2T extra-virgin olive oil, continuously whisking until well-blended.  To taste, take a bite of lettuce and dip it into the dressing.  Adjust seasoning as necessary.  (You won't need all of this dressing; it will keep for days in your frig.)

Solo Cook's Notes
: You'll notice my pork tenderloin is medium-rare.  I cook my pork to 145 degrees F and let it sit for
    5-10 minutes to let it come up to 150.
:  Some toasted nuts (of any kind) would be a nice addition here.
:  A bit of the juice from the orange would have been a good addition to the vinaigrette, though I didn't
   do it.
:  Many cooks feel as if salads (and plates, forks even) must be very cold to be tasty.  While this is
   sometimes true, vegetables are often at their most luscious at room temperature.  Witness tomatoes!
   I don't mind a room temperature salad  sometimes and maybe you don't either.

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

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