Grapefruit Pork & Avocado-Dressed Brussels Salad

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

We got back from the beach Saturday afternoon and after a long day of driving, my husband made the excellent decision to go out to eat. Two bar stools at our favorite neighborhood French bistro, oysters, beet salad, yummy wine, and big savory bowls of moules... it was a good homecoming. Even while swirling my wine glass along to "Sous Le Ciel De Paris", I knew that we had leftovers from the beach house we needed to use up promptly. For Sunday night, I planned on using the big bottle of grapefruit juice (half of which went to cocktails) for a pork tenderloin marinade.

The recipe calls for:

- juice of one large grapefruit (I used 3/4 cup bottled juice)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped (I used 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp Hungarian paprika (we have sweet and hot - I used hot)
- a bunch of fresh thyme (I melted 3 of my thyme cubes and added fresh olive oil to reach 1/4 c)
- 6 lbs pork tenderloin (HA! This was a surprise as I read through the recipe. I used a 1.5 lb 'loin.)

I poked some holes in the pork with the tip of a paring knife and put it in the marinade around 10 am so it could soak up the sauce most of the day. The original recipe has you throw this on the grill to cook, but I just poured the pork and marinade into a casserole and baked it.

The verdict? It wasn't super flavorful. It was fine. It was actually kinda meh, which is SHOCKING to me because the recipe called for this volume of marinade to work for six (!) pounds of pork tenderloin.

The only reason I can come up with is that I didn't grill the pork and the grilling would have upped the flavor ante. It is a mystery to me. That said, I would try this again and reduce the remaining marinade into a thicker sauce/glaze to pour over the top. I mean, paprika and grapefruit juice. I want this all over pork all the time.

The redeemer of this meal? The whackadoodle mix of things that went into the Brussels salad.

- thinly sliced Brussels sprouts (probably 10 - 12 sprouts)
- snack-sized box of Craisins
- grated aged Asiago, shy of 1/4 cup
- pistachios

All but the Brussels were items we took to the beach house and brought home with us. The dressing was made of leftovers, too. Mom introduced me to Avocado's Number (math nerds, get at it!), a pre-packaged guacamole you can buy at Trader Joe's. I'd opened one the last day of vacation to use as a sandwich spread and had the leftovers in a Ziploc bag. I scooped the remainder into a bowl, added a drizzle of pistachio oil (a fun flavored oil in my pantry that is killer in salad dressings, especially when featuring pistachios whole), and enough white balsamic vinegar to loosen up the guac, probably 1/2 cup all in.

It was OUTRAGEOUSLY good. This truly sounds so weird but it worked so well. The archetypal salad dressing is fat, acid, and flavors, right? This had the fat from the avocado (and bit of oil), the acid from the vinegar, and the flavors already mixed into the guacamole. It was creamy and bright but with a lot of boldness from the guac flavors.

All in, the things I purchased for this dinner were a pork tenderloin and a little cardboard bowl of Brussels sprouts. I love repurposing leftovers!

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You can be sweet or spicy, but no sour grapes.

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