I could call this a salad, but it’s so much more. Slices of caramelized pork tenderloin, still warm off the grill, get nestled into a cool and crunchy mix of butter lettuce, sugar snap peas, radishes, herbs and peanuts then drizzled with a rich, rust-hued dressing. The dressing does double duty as the marinade for the meat and is spicy, sweet, salty and ever so addicting. If you’re looking for a dish to wow your people on Memorial Day (or whenever), this is it. (Check out how I make it in the VIDEO below.)
We spend Memorial Day every year with some of our best friends in the universe. You might remember Jess and Dustin, as I’ve talked about them in the past. They live in Vermont and own a company called Vermont Farm Table. We usually head north to stay with them for the long weekend where we also get to see our dear friends Jordan and Dan. It’s like visiting a magical fueling station where we all get filled up on inspiration, love, laughter, lots of wine (for the adults, that is) and tons of good food. We spend nearly all of our time in the kitchen, cooking, talking, laughing and occasionally crying (this is therapy, after all). The kids disappear for days, emerging only for food, usually dressed as princess-ballerinas or warrior-queens. This year we can’t make the trip north because James is deep in a project for work (boo!!), but luckily Vermont is coming to us. Ahhhhhh… It’s just the fuel I need at this moment, when life and work seem to be spinning so fast that I can’t quite catch up with either. While I don’t know what we’ll be cooking this Memorial Day—part of the fun is that we fly by the seat of our pants depending on what’s available at the farmer’s market—I think this meal would be right up their alley.
If you’re not familiar, gochujang is a Korean chili paste that’s spicy, garlicky, slightly sweet and pungent (in a good way). It adds instant umami to marinades, sauces and stews, and here it lends delicious depth of flavor to the salad dressing, which is also used as the marinade for the pork. The gochujang (I use this brand which is gluten-free and lasts forever in the fridge) gets blended with pantry favorites such as tamari, honey, lime juice, garlic and ginger (a touch of sesame oil and fish sauce round things out), and I’ve started making double batches so that I can use the leftovers throughout the week on salads or as a dipping sauce for everything from roasted broccoli, to lettuce wraps, to kebabs. The dressing gets whizzed up in the blender—check out how I do it here:
I wish you all good weather, good friends, and a hot grill this Memorial Day!
By the way, I’m having a lot of fun experimenting with Snapchat, shooting off-the-cuff videos in my kitchen and of my family. I’d love to see you there! Find me @SizemoreNicki
Gochujang Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Butter Lettuce, Snap Peas & Peanuts
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/8 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 cloves garlic , coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped ginger
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 6 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil (such as grapeseed or sunflower), plus more for grill
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (12- to 16-ounce) pound pork tenderloin
- 1 small head butter lettuce , torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups sugar snap peas , sliced on the diagonal
- ½ cup lightly packed mint and/or cilantro leaves , coarsely chopped
- 5 medium radishes , thinly sliced
- 2 scallions , thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup roasted , salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- In a blender, combine the lime juice, tamari, gochujang, sesame oil, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, honey and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Blend on high until smooth. Do Ahead: The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
- Place the pork tenderloin in a large ziptop bag. Measure out a scant ¼ cup of the dressing and pour it over the pork. Seal and toss to coat the pork. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours (if refrigerated, bring to room temperature before proceeding). Do Ahead: The pork can be marinated up to 1 day in advance.
- Preheat a grill to medium. Remove the pork from the marinade and blot off most, but not all, of the marinade. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Oil the grill grates, then grill the meat, covered, for 8-10 minutes, or until caramelized with grill marks. Flip and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 145˚F, about 6-10 minutes longer.
- Transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover lightly with foil, and let rest 5-10 minutes. Slice the meat crosswise.
- Arrange the lettuce on a platter or on individual plates and top with the sugar snap peas, herbs and radishes. Drizzle with some of the dressing. Arrange the pork slices on top and drizzle with more dressing. Sprinkle with scallions and peanuts, then serve.