Whenever I’m looking for a lean cut of pork, I reach for the tenderloin. Not only is it very lean, it is, as named, ridiculously tender — just as long as you don’t overcook it.
So I didn’t much mess with the meat in this recipe except to lather it with sriracha (hot chile sauce) and seasoning.
Why sriracha instead of, say, Tabasco? (which I often reach for?) Because I was thinking ahead to the second-half of this one-two punch: the bahn mi sandwich. Like the bahn mi, which has come to us courtesy of Vietnam, the Thai-based sriracha is of Asian provenance. Until just a few years ago, Americans almost never encountered it except in Thai or Vietnamese restaurants. Now it’s fairly ubiquitous. (Just recently The Husband was offered some at a flea market creperie in Pompano Beach, Florida.) See What Is Sriracha? (below)
Recommended side dish: Sauteed chard with chopped ginger and onion, and brown rice
Makes 4 servings
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total preparation time: 40 minutes
Two 1- to 1 1/4-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed and patted dry
1/4 cup hot chili sauce (preferably sriracha)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the tenderloins in a lightly oiled roasting pan. Mix together the hot chili sauce, sugar, and salt. Spread the mixture over the tenderloins and roast the pork for about 25 minutes until the center is still slightly pink (145°F on an instant read thermometer).
2. Remove the tenderloins from the oven when they have finished cooking. Cover them loosely with aluminum foil and set them aside 10 minutes. Slice and serve one tenderloin. Wrap and refrigerate the remaining tenderloin to make My Bahn Mi the next day.
What is Sriracha?
A few years ago this flavorful Thai chili sauce suddenly started appearing in dishes on restaurant menus all over the country. The best known brand, Huy Fong, was developed by a Vietnamese hot-sauce maker who moved to Los Angeles and brought his craft with him. Named for a town in Vietnam that is famous for hot sauce, Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce was aimed at American tastes. Made from red jalapeno chiles and supplemented by sugar and garlic, in addition to vinegar and salt, it boasts a thick, smooth, nearly ketchuplike texture. No wonder its a smash. Add just a splash is a surprisingly easy way to give new life to sauces, soups, salad dressings and vegetable dishes. Different sriracha brands have entered the market, so try small bottles and choose your favorite, or just pick the one with the rooster on the bottle and “Huy Fong” on the label.