Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pork with Blueberries? YES!

I am a big fan of blueberries. If you've been reading my posts since the beginning, you know that one of my favorite treats ever is Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries and agave nectar. My latest favorite breakfast dish is Kashi whole grain blueberry waffles with a little butter, a big handful of fresh blueberries, agave nectar, and toasted pecans. Absolutely delicious!

Given my passion for this lovely little fruit morsel, I decided to move it away from the typical dessert and breakfast fare and invent a way to use it in a main dish. Tim had cooked up some pork tenderloin on the grill recently that was so fabulous, we ate the leftovers cold the next day. So that made the wheels start turning in the direction of combining grilled pork with blueberries.

I started with a blueberry marinade by processing a pint of blueberries with balsamic vinegar, agave nectar and oil. I decided that olive oil might overpower the blueberry flavor, so I used canola oil. I think a nut oil would be lovely as well, like peanut or hazlenut oil. I knew it would need some sort of herb, and I decided on lemon thyme. It has such a beautiful fragrance and with that I also threw in the grated rind of a lemon. Lastly, I thought the combination of sweet and spicy would be nice, like my "fire and spice" shrimp in a previous post. So I added some cayenne pepper. The marinade ended up to be twice as much as I needed for the one pork tenderloin, so we saved it to marinate some chicken in later in the week.

While the pork was marinating, I put together a blueberry salsa to serve over the top of the pork. I used a half a pint of blueberries, agave, shallots, the juice of the lemon I zested for the marinade, salt and pepper and more thyme and cayenne. The salsa was delicious, but when it was served over the pork, it was clear that some color was needed. For this meal, I just garnished with a fanned strawberry and that helped, but I think next time, I will add some diced tomato to the salsa. I think that will enhance both the color and the flavor. We also thought that the shallots were a little "bitey" in the salsa, so next time, I plan to use Vidalia onion instead.

Thankfully, there was leftover salsa as well, since we completely devoured all of the pork! Now we'll be able to use both the marinade and the salsa with chicken or turkey.

Here is the recipe with the proposed changes and variations. Enjoy!

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Salsa

2 pork tenderloins, about 1 lb. each
For marinade:
1 pint blueberries
1/3 cup fine balsamic vinegar
1/4 canola or peanut oil
2 T agave nectar (or honey)
Grated rind of one lemon
1 T chopped fresh thyme (I used lemon thyme.)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Blend all marinade ingredients in food processor until smooth. Pour over pork tenderloin in covered glass container. Marinade for several hours or overnight, turning once.
Grill pork tenderloins over hottest part of grill to sear. Turn to sear other side, then move to cooler part of grill to cook slowly until temperature reaches 155 degrees. (Temperature will rise to 160 upon standing). Let stand for 5 minutes, then slice. Seve with salsa.

For salsa:
1/2 pint blueberries, halved
1/2 cup diced tomato (optional)
1 T agave nectar (or honey)
1/4 cup finely diced Vidalia onion
Juice of one lemon
1 T chopped fresh thyme
1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Toss all salsa ingredients in a bowl. Serve over grilled pork.

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