Blackened pork tenderloin with cherry tarragon sauce — a Honey & Co recipe
This time of year marks two important occasions in the culinary calendar — the arrival of cherries to your table and the beginning of barbecue season in the garden. While the latter may be weather-dependent and not all of us have the kit, inclination or indeed the garden to be grilling in, the cherries are pretty much guaranteed to come. For the next week or two, we have the enjoyable obligation to enjoy as much of them as we can; fresh or cooked, in sweet preparations or in savoury ones. We never seem to get enough, and always try and find new ways to stretch their season a bit. Our new favourite way of doing so is a relish slightly inspired by tkemali, the ubiquitous (round our way) Georgian sauce that’s usually made with sour plums, lots of garlic and a spice mix called Khmeli Suneli. A riot of flavour here — a salty, sweet and sour explosion, heady with garlic and cooled down with fennel and tarragon. Make a double batch. It’ll keep in the fridge for a week but won’t last you that long: you’ll be having it with cheese and crackers, steamed or poached fish (salmon or trout would be heaven), roast chicken or grilled meat.
Which brings us to the other thing — barbecue season. If you’re a Green Egg pro with a massive garden or a flat dweller with an entry-level collection of pans, we urge you to embrace the season — outdoor cooking in these isles of ours is first and foremost a frame of mind. You cannot trust the weather to be on your side, you have to make your own. Pork tenderloin is the king of the griddle — a cut that is easy to char whether you’re inside or out, it cooks easily and is thoroughly delicious. Give them a good rub with this potent spice mix, get the grill going, serve with bitter leaves and of course the cherry sauce, and enjoy it all.
Blackened pork tenderloin with cherry tarragon sauce
To serve 6-8 as a platter to share
For the blackened paste rub
For the cherry sauce/relish
To serve, optional
Make a paste from all the rub ingredients and rub all over the tenderloins. If you are cooking on a home griddle pan, cut each tenderloin in half so it fits in the griddle; if you are using a barbecue, you can keep them whole. You can do this about two hours and up to a day before you cook.
Make the cherry sauce. Start with the oil and add the whole fennel seeds, fry until they start to sizzle and dance in the pan, add the chilli and garlic slices and sauté for about 30 seconds until they too start to sizzle. Add the cherries and chopped tarragon, sprinkle with the salt and sugar, then add the pomegranate molasses and vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook for three minutes, remove from the heat and set aside until you are ready to serve
If you are cooking at home on a griddle, turn the oven on to 180C with fan assist.
Preheat your griddle pan or use an outdoor barbecue. When they are hot, place the pork pieces on to grill, rotating every two to three minutes until they are well blackened and coloured all over. If you are cooking indoors, open a window as the chilli does get the air rather spicy and smoky.
If using the griddle, pop the whole thing with the coloured pork tenderloins into the oven for five minutes, then remove and set aside to rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving with some rocket or other green leaves and the cherry sauce. If you are cooking over the fire, once they’re coloured, remove the pork tenderloins to a cooler location on the side of the barbecue (or on a higher lever) to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
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