strawberry and arugula salad with peppercorn-crusted tenderloin
thanks to our friend Will Gray, Owl's Nest CSA member and doer of all things at Backpocket Provisions.
Serves two as an entrée
for the salad
- 1 pork tenderloin, about 8oz
- Olive oil
- Sea salt and coarsely-ground black pepper
- 4oz Owl’s Nest arugula, washed
- All of the Owl’s Nest strawberries you can get, washed and sliced
- 4oz soft chèvre
- Handful of walnuts or pine nuts
for the vinaigrette
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup raw honey
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- Sea salt, to taste
prep the vinaigrette. Combine all dressing ingredients (start with two good pinches of salt) in a blender and blend until smooth and emulsified. Taste, and add salt a pinch at a time until balanced. This will make more dressing than you need for this meal, so store the leftovers in a mason jar or another airtight container for the rest of the week’s salads. The dressing will separate, but you can just shake it in the jar to pull it back together before using.
grill the meat. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling. Pat the tenderloin dry, then lightly coat all over with oil. Season heavily with salt and pepper, then gently press to help seasoning adhere. Grill over direct heat, turning every few minutes to ensure a nice crust all the way around, for 10-12 minutes or until the pork registers 135˚ on an instant read thermometer. Set aside to rest for at least five minutes while you assemble the salads.
build the salads. In a large bowl, combine the arugula with a few tablespoons of lemon vinaigrette and toss well. Taste, and add more vinaigrette if desired. Divide the greens between two large bowls (or transfer to a platter if serving family-style) and top with sliced strawberries.
plate and serve. Once the pork has rested, slice against the grain into half-inch medallions. Divide the pork between the two salads. Crumble the chèvre over the top of the pork and sprinkle the nuts, as well. Finish by topping each bowl with a few cranks of black pepper. Serve immediately with a chilled white wine or a dry Provence-style rosé. Life is good!