Pity the poor, misunderstood pork tenderloin, victim of the pig’s wrongful reputation for fat! This delicious and tender cut of meat is in fact very lean, carrying about the same amount of fat and cholesterol as skinless chicken breast. (Yes I was surprised to learn that too) But the flavor far surpasses mere chicken! When properly cooked, pork tenderloin has a delicate, almost sweet flavor that’s perfectly suited to a variety of marinating and glazing techniques. It’s absolutely one of my favourite cuts of meat.
For this particular recipe I came up with a marinade of Nigori sake (a sweet, unfiltered sake), soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and wasabi powder. The slightly sweet flavor of the Nigori sake plays off beautifully against the bite of the wasabi powder. I then created a glaze of coconut milk, hoisin sauce and tamarind, which I painted on during the cooking. The glaze caramelizes to a rich black brown color and lends a nice depth to the flavor profile. For this shot we seared the tenderloin in a pan and then put it in the oven to finish cooking. However this recipe also works beautifully on the barbecue. Either way, the secret to keeping this cut of meat tender and juicy is not to over cook it. Cook it until the meat just firms up to the touch and then take it off to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
The tricky part of the shot came with arranging these items on the plate. We started out with one concept for the presentation, then had to make a hard left turn and try something completely different. Find out why it’s important to always remain flexible when shooting food. Read about it here.