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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pork and Plantains with Cilantro Pesto

I used to hate cilantro, but I'm becoming much more tolerant of it.  This pesto works really well with the pork and plantains and the cliantro adds a fresh, tasty kick in this interesting dish adapted from Clean Eating magazine.

Plantains were easier to find than I expected.  I thought I might have to go to the Asian grocery store, but my regular supermarket had them in stock right by the bananas.  Plantains are shaped just like bananas but are much firmer and starchier.  They need to be cooked before eating.  

For this recipe you'll need:
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
2 plantains
1/2 pound small red potatoes, cut in half
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh cliantro
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sliced almonds
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper

First make the pesto.  Heat a little oil over low heat and add the pepitas and garlic.  Toast for a few minutes.  

Remove the cilantro leaves from the stems and place in a food processor.  Add the toasted garlic and pepitas.

Pulse the food processor to chop the herbs and seeds into a paste.  Add a little oil if needed.  Set aside.

Fill a pot half full of water and bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes.  This goes against my rule: if it grows underground, start it in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil.  If it grows above ground plunge it into boiling water to cook.  But I guess it makes it easier to time and ensure there's enough water because you're going to add the plantains to this as well after the potatoes have boiled for about 10 minutes.  

Peel and slice the plantains into 1-inch slices. I found the plantain a bit of a challenge to peel.  I had to use the knife to score the tough peel.  it looks like banana but don't eat it raw!

Once the potatoes have boiled for 10 minutes, add the plantains to the water and boil another 5 minutes.   The plantains turned the water black.  Don't worry about it, just drain the potatoes and plantains.

Meanwhile slice the pork tenderloin into 1/2 inch thick medallions and season with salt and pepper.  Heat a little more oil in the pan you used for the garlic and pepitas and add the pork.  Cook about 3 minutes and then flip and cook the other side for 3 minutes more until cooked through.  

Add the potatoes and plantains to the pan with the cooked pork and warm through.

Remove from heat and add the cilantro pesto.  Toss to coat.  

The cliantro and the crunch of the pepitas bring this all together for a really tasty meal.

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