Friday, March 29, 2013

Asian Roast Pork with Broccoli Slaw and Pasta

I recently spent a wonderful relaxing weekend in the sun with three girlfriends and we made this recipe together. It's actually considered a salad and can be served either warm or at room temperature. It's very light and  healthy although it's full of flavor - a perfect spring dish.  Although it came out great that weekend, I re-created it for this post back at home instead of using that experience for the visuals.  The reason has to do with what I call "full-bore blogger mode", which is what a food blogger is in when they're creating a blog recipe.  It goes something like this.

Dining with a Food Blogger
1.  Expect that the entire process of making the dish will be interrupted repeatedly for photo ops.
2.  You may be pressed into service as a hand model for action shots (see The Lawyer below for an example).
3.  When the recipe is done, the blogger will carefully and painstakingly plate and garnish one serving, then disappear to whatever part of the house has the best light for pictures (for example, the bathroom - bathrooms have great light).  You, on the other hand, are left to your own devices to plate your food.
4.  Particularly if other props are involved, the blogger could be gone for several minutes at which time the food may or may not still be hot.
5.  As you eat, you'll discuss the recipe.  Generic comments like "it tastes good" are nowhere near adequate.  You're expected to comment on the colors, visual appeal, plating, balance of flavors and textures, overall flavor profile, and what (if anything) should be changed.
6.  You may be interrupted as you eat if the blogger is particularly struck by how your plate looks and needs a picture.
7.  After you're finished, don't be surprised if you're left with a kitchen of dirty dishes as the blogger dashes off to the computer to check out all the visuals.

OK, that might be slightly exaggerated, but not much.  Now you know why the only person I regularly subject to blog recipes is the The Lawyer.  All I can say is that he's a very patient man.  Certainly I didn't want to do that to my friends, whose sole goal for the weekend was to relax and lay in the sun.

Not that this is a difficult recipe at all.   The hardest part is figuring out how to grate a carrot without grating your fingernails or knuckles in the process.  (If you can find a bag of shredded carrots at your store, go for it.)

Basically you make an Asian barbecue sauce out of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger and garlic, then rub some of it on a pork tenderloin and roast it in the oven, saving the rest of the sauce to serve over the finished dish.

The Lawyer as a hand model
While the pork roasts, you briefly blanch some broccoli slaw and toss it with the carrots, cilantro and a little sesame oil.  (If you don't like cilantro, just leave it out.)

Then you cook some pasta and toss that with sesame oil also.  All that's left is the plating.  And the photography, of course.

printable recipe

Asian Roast Pork with Broccoli Slaw and Pasta
Serves 4

For the sauce:
1 ¼ cups hoisin sauce
5 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine or dry white wine
2 ½ tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped

1 pork tenderloin, approximately 1 lb
6 oz broccoli slaw
1 ½ cups carrots, grated or shredded
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ lb spaghetti, broken in half
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
Salt and pepper

For the sauce:  mix all ingredients with ¾ cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened, approximately 5 minutes.  Let cool.

Preheat oven to 350d.  Line a roasting pan with foil.

Put the tenderloin in the roasting pan; spread 1/3 of sauce over all surfaces.  Roast 25-35 minutes, until the internal temperature is 140d (temperature will continue to rise as the meat rests to the eventual target of 145d).  Remove and let cool slightly.

Reheat the remaining sauce to a simmer.

Bring water to a boil in a large pot; add broccoli slaw and cook 30 seconds.  Using a strainer, remove vegetables (do not dump the hot water) and refresh in cold water, then drain again.  In a medium bowl, toss the broccoli slaw, carrots and cilantro with 1 teaspoon sesame oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reheat the water and cook the spaghetti according to directions.  Drain and toss with the remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil.

Cut the pork across the grain into thin slices.  Arrange pasta on each plate, top with carrot/broccoli slaw mixture and some pork slices.  Drizzle some sauce over the mixture and serve the remaining sauce on the side.

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