Roasted Grapes with Pork Tenderloin Cutlets (AIP, Paleo)
Jams, sorbets, crisps, and cobblers are all delectable tricks for managing the bounty of the season and we should all continue to employ (and devour) them as often as possible. But in case you’re as smitten with the savory side of fruit as I am, roasting fruit with fresh herbs and olive oil is a useful (and delicious) trick too.
This dish was borne of an excess of juicy red grapes that I knew weren’t going to be enjoyed before they passed their prime. Waste not, want not (I hate wasting food). I’d never roasted grapes before so it was a bit of an experiment, but given their sweet juiciness, I figured they’d emerge pretty tasty. Indeed they did. I added rosemary because I was in the mood for rosemary, and I had pork tenderloin planned for dinner, and pork and rosemary together are one of my favorite combinations. Sage would be delicious too, or really any of of your favorite herbs: fresh oregano or thyme in particular are nice with sweet things (and classic with pork). Salt and olive oil get the caramelization process started and dissolve into a dreamy salty-sweet sauce.I served the sauce over pan-fried pork tenderloin cutlets but if you prefer to grill pork tenderloin (or chops), do that.
For a more barbecue sauce effect, you could roast onions alongside the grapes. I left the onions out of the master recipe because I could imagine the grapes spooned over coconut yogurt for a breakfast treat.
I’ve eaten them warm on top of the strawberry-rhubarb sorbet I posted last week. And I incorporated the leftover pork and grapes into an absolutely killer warm/cold summer salad (warm pork and grapes atop a bed of cool, crispy greens, spring onions, radishes, and avocado; if you find yourself with leftovers, I highly recommend it). Employ this same trick with berries, peaches, plums, cherries, rhubarb, or apples!
Use a more neutral oil (or coconut oil) and skip the salt (or use just a pinch), drizzle with honey at the finish, and enjoy as a full-on dessert alone or as a sauce. Endless options, all summery and in my opinion, better than chocolate (and definitely better than carob; little AIP joke there).
If you’re looking to boost the nutrient-density of this dish, both the pork and roasted grapes are fantastic alongside a pan of greens sauteed in good fat.
Try this: saute the pork and while it rests for a few minutes, throw several handfuls of torn spinach, swiss chard, kale, or turnip greens (my new fave) into the hot pan drippings and saute until wilted. Season with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a splash of apple cider vinegar and salt to taste (don’t skimp on the salt). Lemon juice or other acid tempers the bitterness of greens, as does salt, as do the sweet grapes for that matter. A good combo all-round.I mention nutrient-density because in my ongoing experiments on myself, I continue to be impressed by the results of upping the nutrient density of my meals as high as I can push them, namely: appetite evenness.
I’ll tell you, when I eat a breakfast of a big bowl of greens and/or cabbage sautéed with protein and fat alongside fresh berries, and especially if I include a rich cup of Healing Green Broth, my appetite is gone until 2p. Poof. Energy is stable, mood is good. It rocks. As I noted in an earlier post, I’ve been shooting for 8-9 cups of mostly vegetables/some fruits per day, combined with bone broths, grass-fed/pastured meats, and wild fish.
I’m working on organ meats, which are the most nutrient-dense of all foods, but which I’m less used to eating. I loooooove pates, but those I adore are made with butter and/or cream. As a back-up, I take desiccated liver pills.
I’m also working up to including high vitamin butter oil (if I can tolerate it) and fermented cod liver oil into my daily routine, I’ll keep you posted (update: I did not tolerate cod liver oil well, so I take fish oil + the desiccated liver pills noted above). My stepmom Susanna gave me the book Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson for a gift. It’s absolutely fascinating. Stay tuned for a review (and fun tips for maximizing nutrition through easy food prep tips) aka More Fascinating Adventures in Autoimmune Protocol and Now Nutrient Density Too! (Heh. But seriously, playing with food is awfully fun, and feeling great is well, great.)
Roasted Grapes with Pork Tenderloin Cutlets
Note: During grilling season, serve the grapes over a whole grilled pork tenderloin. To grill: rub olive oil into pork tenderloin and sprinkle generously with salt. Grill over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. Let tenderloin rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving with grapes. Also, you can roast other juicy fruits this way: cubed peaches, cubed plums, halved strawberries, blueberries, halved cherries.
1 pound seedless red grapes
4 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (or more to taste)
1 pork tenderloin, cut into 8 equal pieces (about 1-inch thick)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add grapes to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the grapes, then sprinkle with rosemary and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir to coat evenly. Spread grapes on baking sheet in an even layer. Roast grapes for 15 minutes, shake pan a bit to shift grapes, then roast for another 15 minutes or until grapes are partially collapsed, very soft, and pan juices are syrupy. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Transfer warm grapes and their pan juices to a small bowl. Stir in the vinegar and adjust seasoning (with a bit more vinegar if you like, or more salt). Reserve until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, using a meat hammer, pound pork tenderloin pieces between sheets of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thick. Season both sides of cutlets with salt.
Set a 14-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of olive and swirl to coat the pan. Fry cutlets, a few at a time, until nicely browned. Flip and fry for 2 minutes more or until just cooked through. Remove to a cutting board to rest as you fry the remaining cutlets (use the remaining olive oil as needed).
Serve cutlets topped with warm roasted grapes. Cover and store leftover sauce in the refrigerator for up to one week.