Weeknight Shorts: Seared Pork with Cabbage Slaw

Late April and early May brings some of my favorite weather and cooking opportunities of the year. The gentle breezes and warm, but generally not hot weather makes opening windows and dining al fresco a welcome relief from months of winter's cold and snow. Those same things bring us the season's first produce and that freshness is so vibrant, it makes meals just sing with flavor. So yeah ... find the freshness and lean in!

This cabbage slaw combines a lot of colors, flavors, and textures to make a foundation for a meal that's downright delicious without being heavy. Be careful not to overcook the pork. Today's pork tenderloin and loin roasts are leaner and cook quickly, so grab a kitchen thermometer to help keep things safe (at least 145°F) without losing moisture and tenderness.

I like serving this meal as is without any sides. What's more, I like eating it outside if I can manage. When July and August hit, we often find ourselves hiding from the harsh, hot sun, so I like basking while the season makes doing so a dream. And if you happen to have a beautiful, tasty, healthy meal along for the ride, so much the better!

Seared Pork with Cabbage Slaw

  • 1 lb. white cabbage, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • ½ lb. shredded carrots
  • ½ English cucumber, quartered and thinly sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • ½ c. coarsely sliced almonds
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 4 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 T. honey
  • 1 T. soy sauce or GF tamari
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
  • ½ T. grated fresh ginger
  • ½ tsp. chili flakes
  • 1 tsp. black sesame seeds
  • 8 oz. pork tenderloin or loin roast
  • 1 T. cooking fat of your choice - I used bacon fat

Begin by preparing the slaw and preheating the oven to 400°F. Combine the cabbage, onions, carrots cucumber, pepper, and almonds in a large bowl; toss to combine. Set aside.

In a resealable glass jar, combine the olive oil, sesame oil, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, minced garlic, grated ginger, chili flakes, and black sesame seeds. Seal the jar and shake vigorously. Reserve ¼ cup of the dressing for making the pork and pour the remaining dressing over the slaw; toss to coat. Chill until ready to serve.

To make the pork, heat the cooking fat of your choice over medium-high heat in a heavy, oven proof pan (cast iron is perfect). Sear the pork on all sides, cooking about 4 minutes per side. Pour the reserved dressing over the roast and place the pan in the preheated oven and roast until the pork registers 145°F. This will take about 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of your roast.

Allow the roast to rest a few minutes on the counter while you plate the slaw on serving plates. Slice the roast into strips and arrange over the slaw. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 2-3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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