Rhubarb season generally runs from late spring to early summer, but this year it seems to have lasted a bit longer: the bright red stalks are still available at my weekend farmers market, and I've spotted them at high-end grocery stores such as Whole Foods as recently as a few days ago. As a lover of rhubarb's snappy, tart flavor, I can only hope its recent proliferation is a sign of increasing popularity. If there is enough demand, maybe someday rhubarb will be available year-round. Sure, it won't taste as good in January as it does in June, but baked into a pie, I doubt anyone will complain.
Today’s Cook the Book recipe, excerpted from Summer on a Plate by Anna Pump, pairs a chunky rhubarb-honey sauce with a spicy grilled pork tenderloin rubbed with ground sage, fennel, cayenne, and Dijon mustard. If you have time, prepare the rhubarb sauce one day ahead to give the flavors a chance to blend.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Sauce
- For the rhubarb sauce
- 2 pounds rhubarb (about 6 cups) cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup water
- For the pork tenderloin
- 3 pounds pork tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon rubbed (ground) sage
- 2 teaspoons ground fennel
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 bunch watercress, rinsed and dried, stems removed
For the rhubarb sauce, place the rhubarb, sugar, honey, and water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir to blend, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes until the rhubarb is tender. Transfer the rhubarb to a serving bowl and chill.
Trim the pork of all fat and sinew. Mash the sage, fennel, salt, pepper, mustard, and olive oil into a paste and rub the mixture over the tenderloin. Place the meat on a sheet pan and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes to marinate.
Preheat grill to medium-high.
Grill the pork for about 20 minutes, turning on all sides to brown evenly. Test for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part; it should read 150° to 155°F. Remove from the heat and allow five minutes for the juices to settle. The meat will be tender and juicy.
Slice and serve on a bed of watercress with chilled rhubarb sauce on the side.