Making quick and healthy meals can often pose a challenge, especially on weeknights. I know my sons (the oldest of which just started kindergarten—how quickly that happened!) are always hungry when we get home and anxious for dinner, making it even more of a challenge. Lean and tasty pork tenderloin is a good option and tossing together a bright and zesty mango-lime salsa to serve alongside turns it into something special. Since it is rather lean, pork, often considered “the other white meat,” can benefit from a sauce and fruit is always a tasty complement.
Mango season is May-September, so now is a good time to try this twist on the pork-and-fruit theme while those from California and Florida are still readily available. The fruit’s huge, flat seed that runs its length looks to be the same color as the flesh so can sometimes make it a little confusing to know where to cut, but there are slick ways to slice it—here is a YouTube video that demonstrates several methods.
In this recipe by chef and cookbook author Molly Stevens, which appeared in Real Food, cutting the tenderloin into thin medallions speeds up the cooking and also makes for a more elegant presentation—when more refined diners who don’t need help cutting their meat will be partaking, of course.
After sautéing the pork medallions, you quickly deglaze the pan with a bit of orange juice to create a citrusy glaze for the meat, and a pot of steamed white rice rounds out the meal nicely. This recipe is easily doubled using two tenderloins to serve four to six people.
Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Mango-Lime Salsa
Serves 2 to 3
1 pork tenderloin (¾ to 1 lb.)
¾ tsp. salt, or to taste
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 heaping tbsp. chopped cilantro
3 scallions, chopped (white and green part separated)
¼ tsp. freshly grated lime zest
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/8 to ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
¼ c. orange juice
Slice pork crosswise into ¾-inch-thick medallions, leaving narrow “tail” portion 1 inch thick. Press each medallion with heel of your hand to flatten slightly. Season both sides with salt and pepper, and rub surface with about 1 teaspoon of the olive oil so all surfaces are lightly coated. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine mango, cilantro, green parts of scallion (reserve the white parts), lime zest and juice, and red pepper. Add remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and salt to taste.
Heat a medium skillet (preferably cast iron or non-stick) over medium-high heat. When hot, sauté pork medallions in a single layer (do this in batches if necessary), until browned and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. (You may cut into one medallion to check for doneness; there should be a trace of pink.) Transfer pork to a plate to rest.
Return skillet to medium heat, add reserved scallion white, and sauté for 1 minute. Add orange juice, scrape bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon, and bring to a boil. Boil until slightly syrupy, another minute. Return pork to skillet, turning to reheat and coat with glaze. Serve immediately, drizzling any remaining glaze over the top and putting the salsa on the side.