Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Peach Salsa and Spinach Salad

Pork Tenderloin

Time to break out the grill!

by Les Dames d’Escoffier Chicago
edited by Carol Mighton Haddix
from Chicago Cooks
(Surrey Books, 2007)
Makes 4 servings

This recipe is one of my favorites for summer beach vacations and spontaneous entertaining. It is easy to prepare and flavorful, and the colors of the dish are gorgeous, whether presented on plates or on communal platters. The pork tenderloin is rubbed with a zesty spice rub and topped with sweet, savory salsa, and the fresh spinach salad is tossed in a slightly sweet and spicy balsamic vinaigrette. Enjoy this recipe anytime you want a taste of summer!. —Dana Benigno
For the pork tenderloin
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of ground red pepper (cayenne)
Olive oil (enough to make a paste from the spices)
2 pork tenderloins (about 12 to 16 ounces each)

For the peach salsa
3 large ripe peaches, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons minced red onion
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno, or other chili pepper (optional)
Dash salt

For the spinach salad
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, sliced
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons green onions, sliced 4 to 6 cups (9 ounces) baby spinach, stems removed, well rinsed, patted dry

 Chicago Cooks edited by Carol Haddix1. For the pork, combine all spices in a small bowl. Stir in enough oil to make a paste. Rub the pork on all sides with the spice paste.

2. For peach salsa, combine the peaches, onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, and salt in a medium bowl; toss to combine.

3. For spinach salad, combine the vinegar, syrup, mustard, salt, and pepper in the bottom of a large salad bowl; whisk together to combine. Add the olive oil; whisk together and set aside. Have the remaining salad ingredients ready.

4. Build a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat. Place the pork on the grill rack; cover and grill, turning occasionally, until the pork is slightly pink in the center, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pork to a wooden board, tent with foil, and let stand 10 minutes.

5. To serve, place all vegetables on top of the salad dressing and toss to coat. Carve the pork into thin slices. Serve the pork accompanied by the peach salsa and spinach salad.

Vegetable Fresca

Vegetables Frescaby Les Dames d’Escoffier Chicago
edited by Carol Mighton Haddix
from Chicago Cooks
(Surrey Books, 2007)
Makes 10 servings

This was one of the first salads Convito Italiano carried. I invented it literally out of what was left in the refrigerator that day. Our first tiny shop in Wilmette had no walk-ins – just one little refrigerator. To this day, this salad is a customer favorite. —Nancy Brussat Barocci


For the vegetables
2 cups julienned carrots (2 inches long)
2 cups julienned zucchini
1 cup peapods, trimmed
1 cup peeled, seeded, julienned cucumbers
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

For the vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegarChicago Cooks by Carol Mighton Haddix (editor)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine the vegetables and parsley in large bowl.

2. For the vinaigrette, combine the oil, vinegar, salt, basil, oregano, and pepper in a medium bowl; whisk to combine.

3. Pour over the vegetables; mix well.

Roasted Pepper Salad with Basil and Goat Cheese

Roasted Pepper Salad with BAsil and Goat Cheeseby Les Dames d’Escoffier Chicago
edited by Carol Mighton Haddix
from Chicago Cooks
(Surrey Books, 2007)
Makes 8 servings

I developed this recipe and brought it to several Les Dames functions, where it quickly became a favorite of two early members of our Chicago chapter, Katherine Smith and Marian Tripp. The salad is best made with the lovely goat cheese named for another member, Sofia Solomon: Capriole farm’s award-winning “Sofia.” — Karen Levin


3 medium red bell peppers
3 medium yellow bell peppers
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon-style, or hot Dijon-style, mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
4 ounces best quality goat cheese, crumbled

 Chicago Cooks edited by Carol Haddix1. Preheat the broiler. Cut the peppers lengthwise into quarters; discard stems and seeds. Place the peppers, skin-side-up, on a foil-lined jelly roll pan or baking sheet. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat source until the skin is evenly blackened, 12 to 14 minutes. Wrap the peppers up in the foil from the pan and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, sugar, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk together to make the dressing.

3. Unwrap the peppers. Working over the foil, peel off and discard the blackened skin. Pour any accumulated pepper juices from the foil into the dressing.

4. Arrange the peppers attractively in a shallow 1 1/2-quart oval or round serving dish. Whisk the dressing and drizzle over the peppers. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.

5. Before serving, bring to room temperature and top with the basil and goat cheese. Top with additional freshly ground black pepper if desired.