2 for 1: Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Bánh Mì

Grill some pork tenderloin over the weekend, then use the leftovers for bánh mì during the week.  I like to buy three tenderloins for my family of five; that’s enough for two dinners, plus leftovers for late night fried rice.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Carving Pork

To prepare marinade, mix the following ingredients into a large bowl:

  • 3/4 cup peanut or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil
  • juice from 1/2 orange or whole satsuma
  • 1 Tbs dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coriander powder

Rinse and dry loins using paper towels. Stab loins repeatedly with fork (you can quote me on that) and submerge into marinade. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours, or 1 hour at room temperature if you must.

We use a Weber charcoal grill. The following pointers come from my husband, lover of flames and meat.

Light coals on one side in a pile. When uniformly gray, spread out under 1/2 of grilling surface. Sear each loin 3-4 minutes per side over the coals. Finish covered, turning occasionally, for 20-25 minutes over the coal-less side. Test for doneness by firmness (stating the obvious: floppy loins aren’t ready for prime time). Cut into loin to check for clearness/excessive pinkness (properly cooked pork can be slightly pink, but should be fully opaque). Let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with simple salad or fresh mango-peach-cilantro-lime salsa and rice (reserving some cilantro/lime for bánh mì).

Bánh Mì (or Con Mì, as my daughter suggested)

Banh Mi

  • one large or several small crusty baguettes
  • two carrots, shredded
  • one bunch cilantro, rinsed
  • one cucumber, sliced
  • 2-3 jalapeños, sliced (optional)

If you like mayonnaise, skip the next step. If you would rather make Sriracha-peanut Sauce, add the following into a blender:

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • juice from 1 lime plus 1/4 chunk of lime rind
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2-3 Tbs Sriracha, depending on your heat preference
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed (optional for heat lovers, or in place of Sriracha)
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs tahini

Purée until smooth, adding water one tsp at a time if necessary. Set sauce aside.

Thinly slice pork, toss with salt and pepper. Layer pork onto baguette(s), followed by cucumber, carrot, jalapeño, and cilantro sprigs. Top with mayonnaise or Sriracha-peanut sauce. Serve with extra sauce for dipping, or refrigerate and stir sauce into leftover noodles and veggies for a tasty lunch.

Coconut Milk Poached Salmon

"coconut milk poached salmon"


Rejoice! This salmon recipe works for all seasons. Since it’s gluten, dairy, and land animal-free; it works for nearly all dinner guests too.

The first time I had fish poached in coconut milk was at Adrift in the historic, seaside town of Anacortes, WA. A piece of fresh caught halibut was swimming with bok choy in creamy coconut milk. I made it the next day with my first fish love, salmon, and have been improving on that attempt ever since. It’s best when you season the rich sauce and crisp one side of the salmon.

Poaching is key. It ensures the salmon stays moist even if you commit the cardinal sin of overcooking it.

You can make this in about 30 minutes. In one deep, lidded pan.

Serves 4-6

  • 2-3 lbs de-skinned fresh salmon or halibut fillets
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • pinch of sugar
  • one lime cut into wedges
  • ground coriander and cumin (optional. In India they mix these spices into one product: Dhania Jeera)
  • green curry paste (optional. Thai Kitchen happily features only ingredients you would expect to find)
  • sesame oil (optional)
  • coconut cream or “manna” (optional)
  • fresh cilantro or thai basil (optional)
  • fresh spinach and/or freshly steamed rice

De-skin (both sides) salmon if necessary. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. On one side, rub salmon with generous amounts of salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander powder.

Heat coconut oil and a few drops of sesame oil uncovered in a large, deep saute pan (with lid, for later) on med high.  When shimmery, add salmon seasoned-side down. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until desired brownness achieved (move salmon around a lot at the beginning or else it will stick and you will lose your beautiful goldenness). Set salmon aside, raw side down on a plate.

Give the pan a quick wipe with a paper towel. Add one can coconut milk, salt, pepper, pinch of sugar, and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp each of the following as desired; turmeric, cumin, coriander. Stir in 1-2 Tbs green curry paste (more will make it spicier) then a few Tbs coconut manna or Trader Joe’s “coconut cream” (in a brown can near the coconut milk) to add some extra richness, although it is not needed. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce to simmer, TASTE IT, and adjust seasonings as necessary.

When you are satisfied with the flavor of your sauce, slide the salmon raw side down into the center of the pan. Bring sauce back up to low simmer around the fish. Cover and poach until done (depends on thickness of fillet, but this usually takes about 10 minutes – just cut into it and check).

Ladle sauce over steamed rice, fresh spinach (thanks for the idea, Ash!) or both. Divide salmon and arrange fillets on top. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro and/or Thai basil.

Photo credit: Ashley Cascio

Photo credit: Ashley Cascio