Pork and fruit is one of those classic Fred-and-Ginger, peanut butter-and-jelly combinations. It makes perfect sense, as the sweetness of the fruit brings out the succulence of the meat and enhances its subtly rich, earthy flavor.
You typically see pork paired with apple. But over the years I have enjoyed experimenting by partnering pork with different fruits, including mango and pear. My latest favorite comes from my discovery of the delights of roasting grapes, which involves just tossing them in a little oil and popping them in the oven for 20 minutes. The result is stunning; they add an element of surprise to the plate.
For this recipe, you add unadorned red seedless grapes to a skillet in which a pork tenderloin — marinated in a sweet-savory teriyaki sauce — has been browned. You give the grapes a little roll around the pan to coat them with the browned bits and juices from the meat. Then the whole skillet goes in the oven for 18 minutes. In that time, the pork is cooked to juicy perfection, and the grapes’ flavor is concentrated and deepened. Yet the fruit remains plump and juicy, and provides a healthfully sweet accompaniment.
Because pork tenderloin is so lean, nearly as lean as skinless chicken breast, it is an ideal good-for-you protein option, and therefore it’s important not to overcook it. You want it to have a slight blush at the center. Serve it with a simple green salad and some crusty bread for an easy and surprisingly elegant weeknight meal.
Here, roasted grapes give a fresh twist to the classic fruit-and-pork pairing.
From registered nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.
Roasted Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin With Grapes
œ cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger root
œ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pork tenderloin (about 1œ pounds), trimmed of visible fat and silver skin
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 cups red seedless grapes
Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, rice wine or sherry, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper flakes in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Add the pork tenderloin and seal, pressing as much air out of the bag as possible. Massage to coat, making sure the sugar has dissolved. Let the pork sit at room temperature for 1 hour, or refrigerate it for up to 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the pork from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels, then place it in the skillet; discard the marinade. Sear the meat for 6 minutes, turning it two or three times to brown it all over. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Add the grapes to the skillet, arranging them around the pork and turning them in the skillet a bit so they become coated with the pan juices. Transfer the skillet to the oven; roast for 18 to 23 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 145 degrees.
Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly. Serve the pork with the grapes alongside.