Two years Ago: Banh Mi
If you'd like a little island getaway without the hassle and expense, try this Caribbean-inspired menu. It's full of interesting flavors and not particularly hot despite the addition of the chile. I love the idea of serving the pork with hot sauce so each person can kick it up as much as they want. The pork tenderloin is marinated in all sorts of ingredients that are tempered by the addition of coconut milk, then grilled and served with a wonderful garnish of green onions, cilantro, allspice and peanuts. (If you live in a climate where you currently have feet of snow on the ground and/or below zero temps, go ahead and use an indoor grill pan or broil the pork. We all have our limits, even The Lawyer.)
The rice is the perfect accompaniment - dried pineapple adds sweetness that balances the heat, plus lime juice, cilantro and green onions echo the same ingredients as in the pork recipe. I've posted the rice before here with grilled shrimp, but it's so perfect with the pork that I had to do it again.
Notice that you marinate the pork for 2-8 hours, so be sure to plan ahead. The original recipe called for a Scotch Bonnet chile which I couldn't find at the store, so I substituted a Habanero chile instead. Both are hot, so be careful when handling or wear gloves. The heat is lessened by removing the ribs and seeds, plus it's tamed down by the coconut milk so don't worry - the finished dish is mildly spicy at best. Hence the hot sauce - I tried red and green Tabasco and preferred the green by far - the red overwhelmed the other flavors.
One last note - the little jalapenos in the photo are just for looks because they're cute, so not to worry.
Coconut-Marinated Pork Tenderloin
You can make a chunky purée from the green onion/peanut relish, if you prefer, by pulsing it in a food processor. Handle the Scotch bonnet chile carefully as you chop it.
1 (14-oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk
Grated zest of 2 limes
Juice of 2 limes
1 heaping tbsp. mild curry powder
2 tsp. mild Spanish paprika
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Scotch Bonnet or Habanero chile, minced
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 (2-lb.) pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat
2 tbsp. canola oil
4 green onions, green and pale green parts, halved lengthwise and finely chopped
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 c. coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
Green Tabasco hot sauce
Combine coconut milk, lime zest and juice, curry powder, paprika, garlic, ginger, Scotch bonnet and pepper in bowl. Add pork, turn to coat in marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.
Heat grill to high for indirect grilling. Remove pork from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking and pat dry with paper towels.
Brush pork with oil and season with salt. Put pork directly over heat and cook until charred on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove to cooler part of grill (indirect heat) and continue grilling until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 140 degrees, about 12 minutes longer.
Remove pork from grill, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Combine green onions, cilantro, allspice and peanuts in bowl and season with salt.
Slice pork into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Sprinkle with green onion-peanut relish and serve with hot sauce.
Note: dried pineapple is sweeter and more intense in flavor than fresh; don’t substitute.
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
½ cup chopped dried pineapple
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon grated lime zest
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add rice and next 4 ingredients (through salt). Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro, onions and juice.