I am declaring this week: Salad Week.
As a celebration for the end of school we took the kids to Six Flags Great Adventure. My two oldest kids are big roller coaster lovers and Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ is sort of a roller coaster mecca. Great Adventure boasts a coaster that is the tallest and the fastest in the world: Kingda Ka. Of course my guys thought it was fabulous...my H and I just waved as they took off with our youngest watching nervously by our sides.I'm not much of a ride person. I was when I was younger, but it seems for me that with age has come a fear of "death defying" rides of thrill. I'm thrilled enough that I get up every morning. So wandering around a theme park not riding rides leads to one very dangerous (sometimes thrilling) act: eating. I love "carnival" foods-popcorn, cotton candy, funnel cakes, churros, burgers, fries and ice cream. And quite honestly, I'm afraid I may have eaten my weight in carnival food on this trip. It can be very tempting waiting for kids on rides and sitting right next to the grilled burger stand (Six Flags Great Adventure has Johnny Rocket's burgers and they are quite tasty).
So in an effort to get my eating back on track I have declared this week to be salad week. I'm going to have salad for lunch and dinner every day this week. First up is a grilled pork salad with apples topped with a tangy maple scented balsamic vinaigrette. There is a bit of cheddar cheese in the salad but I tried to go very light. The salad also has a sprinkling of pepitas-hulled pumpkin seeds which add a bit of salty crunch. Pepitas can usually be found near the nuts in the produce section of most supermarkets.
Salt and Pepper Grilled Pork Salad with Apples
1 (approximately 1 lb.) pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 cups shredded Romaine lettuce
2 large apples, cut into thin wedges, unpeeled
1-2 tablespoons crumbled light cheddar cheese
1-2 tablespoons lightly salted pepitas
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped shallot
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat a grill to medium heat.
Lightly brush the pork tenderloin with the teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil then coat with the salt and pepper. Place the pork on the grill rack and cook, turning occasionally, for a total of 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and pork registers 140 degrees when a meat thermometer is inserted into the thickest part. Remove from the grill and let the pork rest for about 8-10 minutes before carving into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Divide the Romaine lettuce between 4 salad plates. Arrange the pork slices in the center of the Romaine and fan the apples to the sides. Sprinkle each salad with with the cheddar cheese and the pepitas, evenly dividing.
Rapidly whisk together (you may use a blender) the vinaigrette ingredients until smooth and well blended. Drizzle the vinaigrette over each salad and serve.
Yield: 4 main dish salads