Tahoe recipe: Fee, fi, Pho, fum — I smell an Asian pork tenderloin
TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — Once upon a time there was a girl who hated “pho,” and this may be due to the fact she did not know how to pronounce it For the record it is pronounced “fuh,” which, I might add, just does not sound very appetizing.
Plus the first time she had pho was on one of those “let’s not talk about it” dates and she had ordered wrong (on both counts: the date and the pho) and ended up with a bowl a steaming, flavorless broth on a hot summer day.
Then voila! A very nice man introduced her to another pho made with incredible pork tenderloin, sliced and served on top a bunch of rice noodles and this “fuh”-ry tail had a happy ending – and a good recipe.
While this salad first started off as a Vietnamese soup, it is no “pho” pas. The ingredients were just fussed with a bit, creating more of a Thai outcome, and paired up with salad fixings for a sweet summer dish.
What I did was serve the tenderloin as the center piece, surrounded by the lettuce leaves, cucumbers, avocado slices and other “condiments” on a large platter so guests could either make themselves a salad or individual wraps.
One of my friends asked me if this dish was Thai or Vietnamese, I said it was a “fusion” creation When they pressed on with what kind of fusion, like, Asian with French, Thai with Chinese, etc., my friend Frank answered with “con” as in con-fusion Hmmm.
Actually it is an internet Vietnamese recipe fused with Simone, Paul and Kitty efforts. Bottom line, there is no confusion: This is a great recipe for pork tenderloin salad, wraps, or eaten commando.
Ingredients for the pork tenderloin:
1 3/4 lbs pork tenderloin
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbls minced fresh ginger
1 tbls minced fresh garlic
2 tbls fish sauce
2 tbls fresh lime juice
2 tsp finely chopped fresh lemongrass
2 tsp Sriracha chili sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp olive oil
Ingredients for sauce (to be made before pork and then set aside, ready to go):
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. garlic chili paste
2/3 cups hot water
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbl. fish sauce
2 tbls. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. cilantro puree, available in tubes in the produce section at Safeway, or use 2 tsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
Preparation for sauce:
Mix all ingredients together until blended and sugar is dissolved. Set aside
Ingredients for salad or wrap topping:
1 dozen large leaved of Romaine lettuce, cut in half, width-wise
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbls. chopped dry roasted peanuts
1/2 cup thinly slice carrots
1 English cucumber, sliced
1/2 bunch fresh mint leaves
1 cup sliced purple cabbage
2 green onions, sliced on the diagonal
1 sliced avocado
2 cups prepared Jasmine rice (optional)
Preparation for the salad or wraps:
Arrange all of the above on large platter and set aside.
Preparation for pork:
This is super easy. Just cut tenderloin in half lengthwise and place in a large Ziplock® bag. In a bowl, combine wine, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, Sriracha, lemongrass and brown sugar. Pour into your pork bag and mush around so pork is coated. Place marinating pork in the refrigerator for at least a half hour.
When ready to cook and assemble your platter, remove meat from bag, reserving marinade. Heat oil in skillet and brown tenderloin pieces on all sides. Cook until almost done, about ten minutes. Remove from skillet and place on cutting board. Place marinade into the same skillet and bring to a simmer.
While simmering the marinade to become a sauce, cut your tenderloin into 1-inch slices and then return to saucy skillet and cook until the meat is no longer pink.
Place pork on your large “salad” platter keeping sauce within easy reach. You and your guests can make individual wraps by taking one large lettuce leaf and topping with pork slices and desired toppings (rice or no rice) then adding a little sauce on top, or chop up the “toppings” and make a salad, topping that with the pork (again, rice optional) and drizzling on the sauce.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news at firstname.lastname@example.org.