Recipe: Pork tenderloin seared and braised in salsa verde by Charlie Abowd
As I write this, the playa calls, and my lovely wife and life partner is escaping to Burning Man. We look forward to this annual celebration of art and music and humanity and peace as a way to decompress and celebrate all the things that bring joy to life.
It’s been a darn busy summer. The Greenhouse Project pulled off its most successful Concert Under the Stars in a new venue at the Brewery Arts Center. While we loved hosting it at Cafe at Adele’s, the event had grown to the point more room was needed. And change, while the one and only thing that’s guaranteed in life, causes uncertainty and concern, it also brings new and good things, which was the case with the Concert Under the Stars venue change. All that hard work paid off and the feedback positive. Of course, the TGP board will work to improve the event year over year. Looking forward …
As our Third and Curry St. Farmers Market season winds down, be sure to take advantage of later-season crops. This is the time of year for canning, which has enjoyed a renaissance. Be sure to take a moment to thank Linda Marrone for bringing us this wonderful venue again this year.
The market not only provides us each week with the chance to support and buy direct from local growers and producers, but to connect with community, one of the things I love about Carson City.
Many of the ingredients needed for this recipe can be found at the market, including the tenderloins, as the Holley family often has fresh pork available. If not, organic and humanely raised tenderloin can be purchased at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
Enjoy the burn!
Pork Tenderloin Seared and Braised in Burning Man Salsa Verde Topped With Queso Fresca
2 full pork tenderloins
8 large tomatillos, 2 1/2-inch in diameter (If smaller, use comparable amount of 4 1/2 cups.)
1 or 2 serrano chilies
1 sweet yellow onion, grapefruit size
4 bunches cilantro
5 cloves garlic
2 Anaheim chilies
1/4 cup saffola oil
1 teaspoon each salt, pepper, garlic power and cumin
Mix salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin and rub over tenderloins. Set aside or rub just prior to grilling.
Wash and peel husks from tomatillos and cut into quarters, placing in large bowl. You will be adding the following ingredients to this bowl:
You can use one serrano for mild/slightly spicy heat or two for very spicy. Cut chilies lengthwise and remove seeds. Rough chop. Don’t touch your face, go to the bathroom or anything else until thoroughly washing your hands. Otherwise, expect pain and a possible trip to the emergency room.
Peel onion and rough chop into 1-inch pieces. Rough chop garlic.
Remove seeds from Anaheim chilies, chop into 1-inch squares and place in bowl.
Combine all these ingredients with saffola oil, mixing well and place in roasting pan.
Preheat oven on broiler setting or the hottest temperature available. Place roasting pan filled with ingredients in the oven and roast for 30-60 minutes.
You want everything to burn in order to produce that heavy roasted favor. Burning, in this case, is a good thing. Once you achieve this, stir it all up and place back in the oven for another 30 minutes, so the areas that weren’t exposed in the first burn get a turn. This process also reduces the juices and intensifies flavor.
At this point, things will smell great and look horrible.
While the roasting is finishing up, set aside four stems of cilantro, which will be used for garnish. Strip remaining leaves from stems and place in a separate bowl.
After 30 minutes, pull the salsa verde mix out of the oven and set aside to cool. Cooling is necessary prior to blending because excessive heat will cause ingredients to explode. You can do the salsa verde a day ahead if you’d like. Once the mix cools, (100-120 degrees), carefully place mixture a little at a time in a food processor or blender with a portion of the cilantro leaves.
Pulse one to two minutes until ingredients are a rough but smooth texture. Repeat this process until you’ve used all roasted ingredients and cilantro, placing each batch into one bowl. Once this is completed, stir ingredients to ensure consistent flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the tenderloin:
Once the verde is done, you’re ready to fire up the barbecue. You can also use a broiler or pan-fry if needed. Allow barbecue to reach 125 degrees and place tenderloins on grill, cooking three to five minutes per each 1/4 side. For those who may be unfamiliar with tenderloins, they are round and long, hence the four sides. Once you’ve achieved your preferred doneness (I like medium to medium well), remove to cutting board, and slice into either 1/2-inch (as pictured) or 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds.
Spoon warm salsa verde into individual serving dishes. If tenderloin is cut in 1/2-inch slices, use three to four rounds per serving; for 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds, use two. Place tenderloin rounds in each dish and drizzle more verde over the top. Garnish with queso fresco. I use Sandhill Farms brand, from Fallon. Queso comes in a round, and must be hand-crumbled. Garnish each with a sprig of cilantro.
I recommend serving this with Brasserie Saint James, Reno’s Mexican-style “Santiago” ale. Charles Krug Chardonnay is also a nice pairing as it’s crisp barrel fermented with a little oak.
Chef Charlie Abowd co-owns Café at Adele’s with his wife Karen Abowd. Café at Adele’s is located at 1112 N. Carson St., Carson City, and is open daily at 8 a.m. for breakfast. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. For information or to makes reservations, call 775-882-3353, or visit adelesrestaurantandlounge.com.