Sometimes it’s those unlikely pairings that bring out the best in each other — like ginger and bourbon, or pork and peaches. Do you believe that opposites attract? I think there’s something to that. With my love, it was the way he was so different from me that drew me to him; where I am quiet and introspective, he is gregarious and ready to roll. Where I am serious, he’s fun-loving. He keeps me in the moment, coaxes me out of my shell and makes me laugh; I think I give him a calm & compassionate perspective on things. It’s clear to me that over the years, as much as our differences might have challenged us, they’ve made us a more interesting and balanced couple and better individuals.
Our food preferences often differ drastically too – where he craves grilled meat and bourbon, I might go for a salad and something fruity. That’s why this dish works so well for us. We marinate a pork tenderloin in bourbon, soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, and olive oil, and then sear it until crisply blackened on the outside, either on the grill or cooking on the stovetop and oven (we’ve tried both ways, and they’re both phenomenal). Then add it with grilled halved peaches to a mixed salad and dollops of soft goat cheese, and it’s a heavenly combination of sweet, unctuous, tangy and fresh. A semi-sweet Riesling complements these flavors too. Cheers to happy pairings!
Grilled Ginger-Bourbon Pork and Peach Salad with Soft Goat Cheese
(Marinade and pork-peach combo adapted from the amazing blog, Dinner: A Love Story’s “Grilled Pork with Peaches“)
- 1 pork tenderloin
- Marinade: 1/4 cup Maker’s Mark bourbon, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbs. brown sugar, 2 Tbs. olive oil, 2-inch piece of ginger peeled and chopped into discs, salt & pepper to taste; optional: 2 Tbs. hoisin sauce for extra smooth flavor
- 4 peaches, halved, and coated in olive oil
- Mixed salad, including arugula/rocket and baby salad greens
- 3/4 cup of soft goat’s cheese
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1 bunch basil leaves, chopped or torn
- Olive oil & vinegar salad dressing of choice (we use Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar)
Directions: Mix the marinade and combine in a sealable plastic bag with the tenderloin. Let marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. If grilling, prepare the grill so it has one side that is less exposed to the flames. When pork is done marinating, remove it from the bag (reserve marinade) and place the smaller side on the less-exposed end of the grill, and the larger side over the flames. Let cook, turning every 5 minutes or so, for about 20 minutes, or until the internal temp reads 145 F. Let the pork rest under tented foil on a cutting board while you add the peach halves, coated in olive oil, cut side down on the grill, then flip to other side when partly blackened, about 3 minutes.
If cooking on the stovetop, pre-heat oven to 375 F (190 C) and heat an oven-proof saute pan over medium-high heat and add a little canola oil. When hot, add the pork and blacken all sides, letting each side cook for 3-4 minutes at a time. When all sides are blackened, transfer the pan to the oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes, or until internal temp reads 145 F. Let the pork rest under tented foil on a cutting board. Meanwhile, heat a ribbed griddle pan over medium-high heat and cook the peach halves, coated in olive oil, cut side down, then flip when partly blackened, about 4 minutes.
Sauce: Boil the reserved marinade, ginger pieces and all, in a small pot for 10-15 minutes until reduced and thickened. Strain out the ginger and let cool in a bowl.
Salad assembly: Dress the salad, if desired, and arrange on a platter. Scoop out dollops of soft goat cheese over the salad; sprinkle chopped scallions and basil on top. Place the peach halves and sliced pork tenderloin on the sides of the platter. Slice the pork against the grain into 1/4-inch slices; drizzle the sauce over the pork or serve the sauce at the table.
Serves 3; this would be a great dish to serve for a dinner party, just double the ingredients and arrange on a big platter to serve up to 6. Pairs nicely with Riesling.