I received the most beautiful Napa cabbage in my CSA share this week. The leaves are so tender, and yet crunchy, they are absolutely perfect for a salad. This dish caught my eye because it was so colorful, bright with flavor, healthy, and a little bit “out of the box” for me.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I am bringing it to share at Fiesta Friday #88, co-hosted by Julie @ Hostess at Heart and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas, & Spoons. Happy October!
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- 1 ½ to 2 pounds boneless pork tenderloin (usually 2 tenderloins)
- ⅔ cup minced shallots (about 4 shallots)
- ⅔ cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 5 tablespoons light brown sugar, separated
- 6 garlic cloves, minced in a garlic press
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 5 tablespoons peanut or grapeseed oil
- Juice and zest of 4 limes
- 3-inch piece peeled ginger root, grated
- 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt, more to taste
- 1 to 2 Thai bird, serrano or jalapeño chile peppers, seeded and minced
- 8 cups Napa or regular cabbage, thinly sliced (about 1/2 of a large head)
- 5 whole scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 small Kirby or Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups cilantro leaves
- 1 ½ cups mint leaves (I omitted the mint)
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 1 ¼ cups roasted cashews or peanuts, toasted and chopped
- ¼ cup unsweetened coconut chips or large flakes, toasted, optional
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine shallot, cilantro, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, garlic, soy sauce, peanut or grapeseed oil, lime zest and juice, grated ginger, fish sauce, salt and chile. Pulse to mince the shallots, cilantro, garlic, and chiles- as well as to combine the mixture.
- Remove three-quarters of the mixture; reserve to use as the dressing. Add the remaining 3 T sugar and purée until a smooth, loose paste forms. This is the marinade.
- Pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Place tenderloin in a large bowl and spread the paste all over pork. Marinate at room temperature for 2 hours, or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours; turn the tenderloin occasionally. (I marinated the meat for 12 hours in the refrigerator.)
- Light the grill or heat the broiler and arrange a rack at least 4 inches from the heat. (Mine was about 6 inches away.) Grill or broil pork, turning occasionally, until well browned and meat reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees, 4 to 10 minutes per side depending upon the heat of your broiler or grill. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook. Let meat rest while you prepare the salad. (Or, cook the pork 1 or 2 hours ahead and serve it at room temperature.)
- In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients, reserving the herbs, cashews and coconut. (I omitted the coconut.)
- Whisk the dressing and use just enough to dress the salad, tossing to combine. Let sit for a few minutes for the flavors to meld, then right before serving, add herbs and toss again.
- To serve, slice the pork. Arrange salad on a platter or serving plates and top with sliced pork. Scatter cashews and coconut on top, drizzle with a little more of the remaining dressing, to taste, if desired.
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