Even though the weather has taken a decidedly chillier turn in the last few days here even though it is spring, I had been in the mood for something a little more tropical, at least as far as dinner. I have actually picked up a bunch of different pieces of pork over the last few days as they were having a sale so I was able to get pork tenderloin, a pork loin roast and some center cut pork chops at a really good price so I wanted to make something that would be a little spicy a different from what we usually have when it comes to pork tenderloin. I had recently seen a recipe in Cook’s Country for a jerk pork tenderloin with arugula and pineapple salad. The recipe sounded quite delicious and the ingredients for pretty basic, though I did not have any arugula in the house but I did happen to have some spinach on hand that I could use as a replacement. So I set about making this recipe for dinner so that we could have a little bit of a Caribbean flair even though it was only 45° outside.
Jerk Pork Tenderloin with Spinach and Pineapple Salad
2 (12-ounce) pork tenderloins, trimmed
3 tablespoons jerk seasoning
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups 1/2-inch pineapple pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup orange juice
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 ounces (2 cups) baby spinach
Salt and pepper
Adjust and oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450°. Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the pork tenderloins dry with paper towels and season them with 2 tablespoons of the jerk seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat until the oil is just smoking. Cook the pork tenderloins until they are browned on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the pork tenderloins to the prepared wire rack. Roast the pork until the meat registers 140° on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloins, about 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer the pork tenderloins to a carving board, tent them loosely with aluminum foil, and allow them to rest for 5 minutes.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the now-empty skillet set over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the pineapple pieces, red onion, orange juice, cayenne pepper, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of the jerk seasoning and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the onion is just softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the baby spinach. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Slice the pork tenderloins, transfer the slices to a platter, and top the pork with the pineapple mixture.
This is another great simple recipe from Cook’s Country that you can have completed in under 30 minutes and with just a few ingredients. The pork had great spice flavor from the jerk seasoning and you can use any seasoning you like to flavor the pork. Personally, I used the Island Jerk Rub that is from Pepper Mary and it had just the right amounts of spice to it and some great heat and it also helped to make a really good crust on the outside of the pork. I really enjoyed the mix of the pineapple with the arugula and it made a nice touch on top of the pork. The sauce that was created from the pineapple and the orange juice was not overly sweet and thickened to a nice consistency. In my opinion, pineapple goes really well with pork so it made a perfect addition to the dish. I think the spinach worked out just as well as the arugula might have and Sean actually enjoyed having the spinach they are instead of the peppery flavor that arugula often has. It is certainly a recipe worth remembering if you want a nice, spicy dish that you can make quickly during the week.