Yesterday we spent a big chunk of the afternoon at Prince’s Island Park. Deciding that it had finally warmed up enough to warrant a picnic, we packed up all the leftover salads, a loaf of no-knead bread, chunk of cheese and the rest of the sweet potato cake, grabbed a jug of lemonade out of the fridge, stirred up a batch of peanut sauce and turned a couple of pork tenderloins that had been marinating in the fridge into satay. It was, I think, the Best Picnic Ever. As E (who is from the UK) put it: “this pork is the dogs’ bollocks!”
Pork tenderloin hands-down makes the best satay. It’s the leanest but also the most tender cut of pork, and its shape naturally lends itself to being cut into long strips. I cut mine in half crosswise first, then lengthwise, making sure the pieces are fairly even. The best thing about satay is that you can freeze the pork in its marinade, which acts as a sort of insulation against freezer burn. So when you buy pork tenderloin, and they are much cheaper when you buy 4 than when you buy 1 or 2, you can slice up the extras, put them in a baggie, pour some sort of marinade over (I’ll pour a glug of orange or lime juice, a glug of soy sauce, a spoonful of brown sugar or honey and a smaller spoonful of grated ginger, and maybe a crushed clove of garlic and a drizzle of sesame oil), knead it a little to blend it all together and stash it in the freezer. When I want satay, I’ll pull it out and let it thaw; in a bowl of warm water if I’m in a hurry.
In this case I had been marinating the pork tenderloins whole in maple syrup, soy sauce, grainy mustard, lemon juice and some chopped rosemary, intending to turn them into something else, but sliced, skewered and grilled they were equally fantastic. We quickly grilled them (it only takes a few minutes), then wrapped them in foil and they were the perfect temperature by the time we spread out our blanket. Peanut sauce is essential: in this case I spooned some peanut butter into a blender and added a squirt of lime juice and some chicken stock to thin it down (coconut milk would work too, but is high in saturated fat), a glug of soy sauce to salt it, and a clove of garlic, spoonful of grated ginger, and a dab of curry paste to jazz it up. Whiz until smooth and it will keep in a jar in the fridge for at least a week. (If you absolutely must have a recipe, I posted one on Day 106.)
All this to say that tonight, after our company packed up and headed toward Drumheller, M and W ate the leftover satay and quinoa salad while I met my friend T for bellinis and pizza.
2 pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar or honey
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. curry powder and/or 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 green onions, chopped
Combine everything but the pork in a medium bowl. Cut the pork into strips and add to the marinade, stirring well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, or freeze for up to 6 months.
Soak bamboo skewers in water while the pork is marinating. Thread strips of pork onto the skewers and grill or broil for about 3 minutes per side, just until cooked through. Serve hot, warm or cold with peanut sauce for dipping. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen satay.
Per satay: 56 calories, 1 g total fat (0.3 g saturated fat, 0.4 g monounsaturated fat, 0.1 g polyunsaturated fat), 9.3 g protein, 1.2 g carbohydrate, 22.3 mg cholesterol, 0.2 g fiber. 16% calories from fat.