Thai Pork Tenderloin Salad with Napa Cabbage

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


For the Marinade & Dressing:

  • 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


For the Salad:

  • 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.)
  5. In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients, reserving the herbs, cashews and coconut. (I omitted the coconut.)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Rick Bayless’ Classic Ensenada Fish Tacos

IMG_0358

My husband loves to go fishing. He doesn’t get the opportunity to go very often, and he doesn’t have a lot of luck catching many fish, but it is a peaceful and relaxing activity for him. My son enjoys it now too! When we heard about a sunset fishing boat excursion near our home, my husband brought my son as a surprise. The boat took them out into the Long Island Sound where they both caught porgy and bass- and had a great time together! 🙂

I had to make something special with this super-fresh fish. For my son there was no question- I had to make fish tacos. I had been excited to try the “perfect fish tacos” from a recent issue of Bon Appetit. My fishermen rejected the recipe. 😦 Rick Bayless recipes are always welcome in our home, so I chose this version instead.

The batter smelled AMAZING. (I don’t think I’ve ever said that about a batter!) After cooking all of the fish, I realized that I forgot to add the garlic to the amazing-smelling batter… gasp! This may have been a first for me…. I added garlic to the creamy sauce instead, which was wonderful. Next time, I would add the garlic to the batter and the sauce! I modified the recipe below. This recipe was adapted from Mexico-One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless, via rickbayless.com.

These were the best fish tacos I have ever made- and possibly the best I’ve ever eaten. Special fish! 🙂 I’m sharing this dish with my friends at Fiesta Friday #38 this week at The Novice Gardener. Enjoy!

Servings: about 12 tacos, 4 to 6 servings

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, separated
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano or Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon concentrated chicken base
  • 1 cup beer (I used Brooklyn Brewery’s Octoberfest)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil to a depth of 1/2-inch for frying (I used Canola)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless fish filets (preferably larger-flake, lighter-flavored fish—like halibut, sea bass, grouper, etc)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
  • 12 warm corn tortillas
  • 1 cup (or more) thinly sliced cabbage (preferably Napa cabbage)
  • About 1 cup salsa (such as toasted arbol chile salsa, roasted green chile salsa, roasted tomatillo salsa or even one of the Mexican hot sauces like Tamazula or Valentina) (I used Frontera Chipotle Salsa)
  • 2 or 3 limes, cut into wedges
  1. Make the batter: Finely chop the garlic, sprinkle generously with salt, then mash back and forth with the side of your knife across your cutting board until crushed to a puree. Scrape into a medium bowl and add the oregano, black pepper, mustard, chicken base, beer, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the flour and baking powder to the wet ingredients and whisk just until combined.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet to 370 degrees. (I used a candy thermometer.) While the oil is heating, cut the fish into pieces about 3 inches long by 1/2 inch square. Use a pair of tongs to pick up a piece of fish, dip it completely into the batter, and lay it into the oil. Continue with a few more pieces of fish, filling the hot oil with an uncrowded layer. Fry, turning the pieces regularly, until deep golden and crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven on a wire rack set over a sheet pan while you fry the rest of the fish.
  3. Make the sauce: Push the 2 remaining garlic cloves through a garlic press. Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream and milk. Add the garlic and stir to combine.
  4. Serve the sauce along with the cabbage, salsa, warm corn tortillas, limes and the crispy fish for everyone to make tacos.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Roasted Cabbage and Bacon Pasta

I love finding new uses for cabbage. I was so excited to read about roasting cabbage with bacon on Cottage Grove House. I had never roasted cabbage before. Genius!– and I had two types of CSA cabbage sitting in my refrigerator waiting for a plan! 🙂 The original recipe was for a side dish but I thought it would be fabulous over pasta as a main dish. This recipe was adapted from cottagegrovehouse.com. It was DELICIOUS!!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 1/2 head green and/or red cabbage, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 head savoy or napa cabbage, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 6 slices of thick cut bacon, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • drizzling of avocado or olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmesan, for serving
  • 3/4 to 1 pound fresh pasta noodles, such as Trofie or dry pasta noodles, such as Strozzapreti

IMG_6663 IMG_0690

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees (convection).
  2. Place the cabbage, bacon, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and toss until well coated. Spread evenly onto two large, rimmed baking sheets. IMG_6657
  3. Roast, turning regularly with a spatula, about 30 minutes, or until well roasted and bacon is crispy, yet still meaty.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  5. Combine cooked pasta with cabbage mixture. Top with grated cheese and serve.

Napa Cabbage Curry

This is the best cabbage dish I have ever made or eaten. It was quick, flavorful, and delicious. Everyone loved it! We ate it over brown basmati rice. This recipe was adapted from the New York Times article “Slawless,” contributed by Mark Bittman. I am looking forward to my next CSA cabbage to try some of the other ideas in the article. (Although it will be difficult not to just repeat this one….)

  • 1 small head of green cabbage or Napa cabbage, sliced crosswise into 1 to 2-inch thick ribbons
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 T minced garlic (I used 5 cloves)
  • 1 T minced ginger
  • 1 T minced (seeded) jalapeño
  • 1-2 T coconut oil
  • 1 T sweet curry powder
  • 15-oz can light coconut milk
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • cilantro & lime, for garnish
  • brown basmati rice, for serving

  1. Saute the chicken thighs, onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeño in the coconut oil until browned.
  2. Add the cabbage leaves, curry powder, salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the cabbage wilts.
  3. After the cabbage has wilted, add the coconut milk. Simmer until the cabbage is tender and the sauce thickens.
  4. Adjust seasoning. Serve over rice. Garnish with cilantro and lime, if desired.

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