Rhubarb salsa perks up pork

Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionJune 5, 2012 

  • Rhubarb-Strawberry Salsa and Pork Tenderloin This recipe is delicious, crunchy and tart. The chopped rhubarb is reminiscent of tomatillos. It works perfectly in salsa. 1/4 cup olive oil Juice of 1 lime, divided 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 (20-ounce) pork tenderloin, trimmed 3/4 cup diced rhubarb (about 1/4 pound) 1/4 cup diced strawberries (about 2 large) 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro 2 teaspoons minced jalapeño, or to taste 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, more if needed 10 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed PREHEAT grill to very hot. Lightly oil grill grates. STIR together olive oil, half the lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. POUR half of olive oil mixture over tenderloin. Rub oil mixture on all sides of tenderloin and set aside to rest at room temperature while grill heats. Reserve remaining olive oil mixture. STIR together rhubarb, strawberries, cilantro, jalapeño, remaining lime juice and sugar in a medium bowl. Toss and season to taste with salt, pepper and additional sugar, if needed. Set aside until pork is cooked. COOK pork tenderloin until its temperature reaches 145 degrees, turning to brown all sides, about 10 minutes total. Remove pork from grill, cover with foil and allow to rest. STEAM spinach in microwave for 3 minutes or until just wilted. Remove from microwave and toss with remaining olive oil mixture. Arrange on platter. Slice tenderloin in 1/2-inch pieces and arrange over spinach. Spoon salsa on platter and serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings PER SERVING: 320 calories (percent of calories from fat, 52), 32 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 19 g fat (4 g saturated), 92 mg cholesterol, 395 mg sodium.

Rhubarb starts appearing at the market just about the same time as strawberries, making strawberry-rhubarb combinations a natural.

Botanically, rhubarb is a vegetable, but the U.S. Customs Court ruled in 1947 that rhubarb is a fruit, because it’s used mainly in sweetened dishes. The court was asked to rule because it was deciding if imported rhubarb would be taxed as a fruit or a vegetable, and fruits have lower duty rates.

Unfortunately, rhubarb doesn’t survive our summers. If you want to buy local rhubarb, you’ll have to move farther north. It thrives in colder climates, in places like Michigan and Vermont.

Rhubarb is valued for its tartness and its color. Stalks can range from bright crimson red to light pink. Some varieties grow green stalks. They taste much the same, but consumers favor the brightest red varieties.

Sometimes you’ll find a few bits of leaf still attached to the stalk. Those should be removed. Some people say they’re poisonous. It’s true that the leaves contain oxalic acid, but you’d have to eat several pounds to consume a lethal dose. Still, you should remove them because they add nothing to the taste of your finished dish.

Most of us eat rhubarb cooked, stewed with sugar or baked into a pie with strawberries. It’s also enjoyed as rhubarb jam and fresh rhubarb juice, a nice alternative for making “lemonade” and a gorgeous pink color besides.

When buying rhubarb, look for firm, glossy stalks. Wrapped loosely, they’ll keep for up to two weeks in your vegetable crisper.

For a printable copy of the recipe, click the link:

Rhubarb-Strawberry Salsa with Grilled Pork Tenderloin

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