Monday, April 9, 2012

Spiced Pork Tenderloin & Arugula Salad

I’m going to start with the salad as I think I’ve found my new favorite.  Ohmyfreakinggod, this is so good and so easy.  I’ve been on a crazy arugula kick lately.  I can’t get enough of it – it’s crunchy and peppery and a nice change from the romaine I eat several times a week.  This salad is the perfect combination of textures and flavors, which are key in order for me to feel satisfied (keep your comments to yourself!). 

I bought a ton of strawberries so I thought a salad would be a good way to use some up.  I mixed them with some thinly sliced red onion and tossed it all with homemade balsamic vinaigrette.  I topped the salad with some creamy, tangy goat cheese and some nice salty, crunchy sunflower seeds.  Insanely good.  I almost said screw the pork altogether…but then I remembered how good this pork is too.  Aren’t the colors in the salad awesome though?  How could you not want to eat that?

And the pork?  Well I’ve been making this recipe for a few years now and it’s amazing every time.  Surprisingly, it’s a recipe from P90X.  It’s a great mix of earthy and sweet flavors – of course with a pinch of cayenne too.  The top has a crust of brown sugar and fresh garlic – yum!  The tenderloin stays juicy and absorbs so much from the spices.  Definitely give these a try for an uber flavorful, healthy, fresh meal.

For the pork:

2lb pork tenderloin
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp chili powder
Pinch (or two) cayenne pepper
Salt & Pepper
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1Tbsp minced garlic

Sprinkle tenderloin with salt on all sides.  Mix cumin, cinnamon, chili powder, cayenne and black pepper.  Rub spice mix on all sides of tenderloin and let stand about 10-15 min.  Preheat oven to 350º.  Sear tenderloin in frying pan coated with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil, just to brown all sides.  After searing, coat the top with the brown sugar and garlic (these can be pre-mixed).  Roast in oven for about 25 min, or until the internal temperature reaches 160º.  Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

*Other ideas for sides - cubed roasted butternut squash or steamed fresh green beans.

Salad dressing:
(this will be enough to dress several salads)

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced (or a couple shakes of garlic powder)
⅓ – ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (honestly, I never measure this, just keep adding until it reaches the consistency and flavor you like)
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a small bowl, add vinegar, mustard and garlic.  Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If it’s a little to tangy, add a pinch of granulated sugar.