Fire Up The Grill For Buttermilk Pork Tenderloin and Grilled Cherry Salad

You won't believe how easy and fast it is to make this grilled pork tenderloin with cherry couscous salad.
You won’t believe how easy and fast it is to make this grilled pork tenderloin with cherry couscous salad.

Pork has a thing for fruit.

No matter its form, shape or preparation, pork’s wiles prove irresistible to most any fruit, resulting in a most magical coupling.

If you still have some of this season’s cherries at your fingertips, use them to make “Buttermilk Pork Tenderloin and Grilled Cherry Salad” to get the gist.

This simple grilling recipe is from the new “Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking With Fruit” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Abra Berens, a Michigan-based chef and former farmer, who definitely knows a thing or two about fruit.

The book’s more than 215 recipes spotlight inspired ways to use all manner of fruit in both sweet and savory preparations.

The chapters are arranged alphabetically by fruit, from apples to strawberries to “tart round fruits” such as cranberries, gooseberries and lingonberries. For each chapter or fruit, Berens also provides handy info on how to select, signs of ripeness, and how best to store.

Enjoy dishes such as “Roast Chicken Over Blueberries, Cornbread and Lemon,” “Rice Pudding with Sherry-Roasted Grapes,” “Cream Scones with Grilled Nectarine and Goat Cheese Sabayon,” and “Rum-Plum Clafoutis.”

Pitted and halved cherries get grilled in a pan over the fire.
Pitted and halved cherries get grilled in a pan over the fire.

This pork and cherry dish comes together in no time. Rub brown sugar and salt all over a pork tenderloin, then place it in a zip-lock bag with buttermilk to brine and marinate.

Grill the tenderloin, then transfer to a plate to rest. Meantime, cook pitted and halved fresh cherries in a pan over the grill with olive oil, salt, and pepper, until they soften. They will break down a little and become jammy. If you prefer your cherries maintain more structure, leave them whole to cook.

With microwavable couscous, this salad comes together in a flash.
With microwavable couscous, this salad comes together in a flash.

Steam or microwave couscous, allow to cool, then season with salt, pepper, olive oil, chopped parsley, and sherry vinegar. Gently stir in the cherries, but hold back some of the residual cherry juices in the pan to drizzle over the pork just before serving. The recipe didn’t instruct to do that, but after enjoying the dish, I thought the pork would be even better with that final flourish, so I added it to the recipe below.

Arrange slices of the pork on each plate, drizzle with the reserved cherry juices, and serve with some of the cherry couscous salad.

The buttermilk does all the work to turn typically lean pork tenderloin super tender. The brown sugar adds a hint of sweetness that’s just wonderful for this smoky tasting pork.

The hale and hearty couscous gets smeared with fuchsia streaks from the sweet cooked cherries, whose flavor is heightened by the perky fruitiness of the sherry vinegar.

That last drizzle of cherry juices is what ties the knot tightly between this everlasting marriage of pork and fruit.

Enjoy each and every bite.
Enjoy each and every bite.

Buttermilk Pork Tenderloin and Grilled Cherry Salad

(Serves 3 to 4)

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)

1 tablespoon brown sugar


1 cup buttermilk

4 sprigs thyme (optional)

Neutral oil

2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and halved

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup bulgar or couscous, steamed according to package instructions

10 sprigs parsley, leaves picked

1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Rub the pork all over with the brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt, then place into a sealable container or bag. Add buttermilk and thyme (if using) and squish it around to coat evenly. Let the pork cure in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Heat a grill to medium. Grill the pork for 3 minutes on each side. When the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees, remove from the grill and let rest for 15 minutes (the temperature will increase the last 10 degrees as it rests).

While the pork grills, using a small frying pan on the other side of the grill, heat a glug of neutral oil and roast the cherries with a big pinch of salt and black pepper until the fruit softens, about 8 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine bulgur, parsley, vinegar, and olive oil with another big pinch of salt and black peppers. Gently stir in the grilled cherries along with some of their juices from the pan, but leave a little bit of the jammy juices for drizzling over the pork. Toss salad, taste, and adjust the seasoning as desired.

Slice the pork into 1/2-inch thick medallions, and serve with a big scoop of the cherry salad. Spoon the remaining cherry juices over the pork slices, and serve.

Adapted from “Pulp” by Abra Berens

More Cherry Recipes to Enjoy: Cherry Focaccia with Rosemary

And: Cherry and Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

And: Cherry (Or Strawberry) Snacking Cake

And: Cherry Upside-Down Cakelets

And: Cherry Snow Cones

And: Brown Sugar-Oat Cherry Muffins

And: Deborah Olson’s Classic Cherry Pie

And: Pan-Fried Pork Cutlets with Bing Cherries

And: Pickled Cherries

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