Aren’t pork and peaches a “perfect pairing?” An Arugula Salad with Grilled Pork and Peaches and Maple Bourbon Vinaigrette brings lush, fresh peaches and a zesty spice-rubbed pork tenderloin together on the grill with sweet onion, and it all gets served atop peppery arugula, sprinkled with toasted pecans, and drizzled with an amazing Maple bourbon Vinaigrette!
Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.
~~ Mark Twain
What does Mark Twain’s pessimism tell you about the peach? Why, nothing at all of course. That beautiful representation of summer is the result of water and long, warm summer days… Simple. Perfect. Versatile. I have always loved pork and peaches… check out my Grilled Pork Chops with Hatch Green Chile Polenta! The sweet-savory combination of pork and peaches is hard to beat, and tastes like summer. Did I mention you don’t have to heat up your kitchen? Yay! Enlist the help of your grill mate (in my case my hubby 😀 ) while you make the scrumptious vinaigrette… Dinner the time it takes to grill the pork!
When I’m working on a new recipe, the “trial and error” process means lots of repeats.
Boring? Mark says emphatically “no” most of the time. We enjoyed this one immensely. The idea came to me as the peaches peaked at my local market… The first couple of go ’rounds, I had the most beautiful, firm, perfectly ripe yellow peaches. Imagine my panic on photo shoot day when there were no pretty yellow peaches to be found? UGH! The yellow peaches were buggy, small, and hard. 😡 After looking a second market, I went with white peaches instead. I knew they wouldn’t photograph all that well, but in the end for this girl, it’s all about authenticity and great flavor!
So, what’s the take away? You want to cook with the freshest, seasonal produce you can find. If I had not been able to get the nice white peaches, I might have opted to use apricots, nectarines, or mangoes. (Yes, you can grill mangoes). Of course I’d need to either change the recipe title or come up with a really awesome excuse for why my Grilled Pork and Peaches don’t look quite right. Part of the beauty of getting more comfortable in the kitchen, is learning how to substitute ingredients based on what’s available and what’s in the pantry.
My Work Flow:
It is possible to get this done in less than 30 minutes. That’s never my preference. I would much rather enjoy the process – good conversation and a glass of wine.
Preheat the grill to medium-high. Make the spice rub first. Prep the onion and the peaches for the grill. Rub the pork with the spice mix. While your grill mate manages the pork, peaches, and sweet onions, toast the pecans in a dry skillet, and whip up the vinaigrette. Lastly, arrange the arugula on a platter or plates, top with the sliced pork, peaches, and sweet onion, drizzle with vinaigrette, and garnish with toasted pecans. Happy. Happy.
My husband is a bourbon kinda guy, and we keep it in the pantry. Prefer to avoid buying a bottle of bourbon for a vinaigrette? You can substitute cooking sherry or unsweetened apple cider. If you substitute apple cider, you may want to cut the amount of maple syrup to keep it from being too sweet. Add half the maple syrup, and taste it before adding more…
Do you have a favorite fruit and meat combination? Some of my favorite dishes combine fruit with meat, poultry, or seafood. I love Persian fesenjan – chicken in a sauce of pomegranates, and walnuts. Lamb chops with a cherry-port sauce is another one that comes to mind. Here are a few from the blog:
- Minty Citrus Gremolata with Grilled Salmon
- Pressure Cooker Pork Roast with Blood Oranges
- Tropical Black Beans and Rice
- Tropical Pressure Cooker Fish in Banana Leaves (or Parchment)
- Mango, Avocado, and Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas
- Beef, Clementine, and Tuscan Kale Stir-Fry
Arugula Salad with Grilled Pork and Peaches and Maple Bourbon Vinaigrette
Aren't pork and peaches a "perfect pairing?" An Arugula Salad with Grilled Pork and Peaches and Maple Bourbon Vinaigrette brings lush, fresh peaches and a zesty spice-rubbed pork tenderloin together on the grill with sweet onion, and it all gets served atop peppery arugula, sprinkled with toasted pecans, and drizzled with an amazing Maple bourbon Vinaigrette!
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- a few grinds pepper
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp bourbon
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar (see notes)
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 small shallot (peeled, cut in pieces)
- 2 tsp herbs (I like chive, thyme, basil) (minced)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (to taste)
- a grinds pepper
- 1 pork tenderloin (see notes)
- olive oil for drizzling
- 1 sweet onion quartered
- 2 freestone peaches halved
- 1 tub arugula
- 4 tbsp pecan pieces toasted in a dry pan
Spice Rub (for pork tenderloin)
Combine all ingredients for the spice rub in a small prep bowl. Mix thoroughly, and set aside.
Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a blender or processor. Pulse until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat grill to medium-high.
Rub pork tenderloin with a drizzle of olive oil and then rub the spices in to the meat so that they stick.
Slice peaches in half lengthwise and remove pits.
Place quartered onion on a small sheet of foil. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Close foil around the onion.
Place prepared pork tenderloin, foil-wrapped onion, and peach halves on grill. Grill 12-15 minutes (turning occasionally) until interior temperature reaches 140 degrees. Watch the peaches and remove them sooner if caramelized.
Cover pork with foil and allow to sit 5-10 minutes. Slice.
Slice the peach halve into quarters.
Arrange arugula on plates or platter. Top with a wedge of sweet onion, and 2 quartered peaches. Arrange 1/4 the slices of pork over top. Drizzle with the Maple Bourbon Vinaigrette. Garnish with toasted pecans.
Pork tenderloin is amazing in this dish, and cooks quickly. You could substitute chicken.
My salad recipes are really "templates." Experiment a little!
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal): 353 calories; 25 g protein; 24 g carbohydrates; 16 g fat. *Macros based on 4 ounces lean pork tenderloin, half of 1 peach, 1 tablespoon of toasted and chopped pecans.