When I started working on the development of this recipe, I knew the flavors I wanted but was not sure which direction to go in. As I took my first taste of the Sweet and Spicy Tabasco during my time on Avery Island, I was transported to South East Asian, and instantly knew I wanted to add more of the bold flavors often found in recipes from Vietnam or Thailand alongside this sauce. One of my favorite lunches is a Banh Mi Pork Sandwich, I love the grilled meat and spicy dressing along with simple ingredients. I decided to deconstruct that sandwich and develop a Banh Mi Grilled Pork Salad.
One of the many highlights for me during my time with Tabasco was a cooking demo given by Chef Brian Landry from the famed Borgne in New Orleans. Chef Landry’s cooking style pays homage to the coastal cuisine of Louisana using the freshest local ingredients he can find. One thing that keeps playing back in my mind which he talked about is that Tabasco is used by many chefs around the world as a flavor enhancer, not as a condiment sprinkled over the finished recipe. Now when I cook, I try to remember to use Tabasco as a means of bringing out flavors within a recipe and to play with ingredients alongside the spicy sauce. He wowed us with his cooking demo where he used Tabasco Garlic Pepper Sauce along with Louisana White Shrimp, and later that evening dazzled us with more amazing dishes.
During a sit-down dinner party that was held in our honor, along with some of the executives from Tabasco we were wined and dined while having a chance to get to know our hosts. It was an evening filled with tantalizing conversation, amazing views, and spectacular food. Chef Landry prepared the following menu, using Tabasco products to enhance the flavor of each dish.
First Course – Grilled Goat Cheese using Tabasco Chipotle Pepper in a sauce mojo Picante and served with a celery marmalade
Second Course – Charred Octopus using Tabasco Buffalo Style Hot Sauce with a sunflower salad, chickpeas, and honey yogurt dressing
Third Course – Garlic Clove Louisiana White Shrimp using Tabasco Garlic Pepper in a sauce and served with charred eggplant
Fourth Course – Herb Roasted Amberjack using Tabasco Original Red Sauce in a vinaigrette, served with steamed mussels and a Spring rice salad
Dessert – Sweet Potato Hand Pie made with Tabasco Sweet and Spicy Sauce and served with dark rum ice cream and candied pecans
Often, I use fresh herbs to enhance the flavors within a recipe, but up until now, I had not considered using Tabasco in the same manner from sweet to savory dishes. I was highly impressed with each of the dishes Chef Landry made for us, and have taken the same approach with cooking since coming home. For this recipe, I decided to deconstruct a favorite lunch sandwich, the Banh Mi, and create a salad. I wanted the flavors of my ingredients to really shine, and not be overwhelmed with heavy bread. The same approach Chef Landry uses.
I started this recipe by marinating the pork tenderloin overnight in a marinade made with the Sweet and Spicy Tabasco along with fresh garlic, onions, cilantro, and a little fish sauce and brown sugar. The brown sugar helps the meat slightly caramelize when grilled. Rest of the salad is basically a deconstructed Banh Mi sandwich with the addition of rice noodles.
On top of a bed of red leaf lettuce which has been tossed with fresh herbs, I layered julienne carrots, thin slices of radish and pork tenderloin, the rice noodles, and a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs (the bread component of the Banh Mi). The creamy dressing for this salad was made with mayo, olive oil and more of the Sweet and Spicy Tabasco; it is so creamy and flavorful. This recipe for a Banh Mi Grilled Pork Salad really is the essence of summer, traveling in faraway lands, and flavor. Great as a main course meal on a hot summer night.
Following are a few photos that I liked, showing more of the faces behind Tabasco; after all is not only about the peppers! More Tabasco highlights.
Stanley Dry, breakfast extraordinaire at the Marsh House on Avery Island. Mr. Dry was previously an editor with Food & Wine Magazine for many years before becoming the best hand pie baker ever. His breakfasts nourished our souls and kept us fueled throughout the day. When he is not feeding lucky guests at the Marsh House, he freelances as a writer.
Sweetie, Tabasco Chemist
Recipe: Banh Mi Grilled Pork Salad
- 1/8 cup fish sauce
- 1/2 cup sunflower oil (can handle high grill heat)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 green onions, whites and light green stem
- 3 medium cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup cilantro, stems and leaves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Sweet and Spicy Tabasco
- 1 1/4 lb pork tenderloin
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons mayo
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Sweet and Spicy Tabasco
- 4 cups red lettuce leaves torn up
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup basil, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup mint, roughly chopped
- 2 large carrots
- 1 small white or red onion, thinly sliced
- 6 radishes, thinly sliced
- rice noodles
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, toasted
- In a food processor add first 8 ingredients and mix together. The marinade will be thick, this is okay. Place the pork tenderloin into a ziplock bag or shallow glass baking dish, and pour the marinade over the top.
- Using your hands smear the marinade all over the tenderloin. Seal the Ziploc or cover the baking dish with saran wrap.
- Place in the refrigerator overnight.
- In a small jar combine the rice vinegar, mayo, olive oil, and Tabasco. Cover with a lid and shake. Place in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
- The next day, take the pork tenderloin out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.
- Heat the grill to 450.
- Place the pork tenderloin onto the grill and sear all the sides. Basting with the leftover marinade as you sear.
- Cover the grill with the lid, and let the meat cook until the temperature reads 150 with a meat thermometer.
- Remove from the grill, cover with foil and let sit for 10 minutes to bring to 160.
- In a shallow salad bowl add the lettuce, cilantro, basil, and mint. Toss with your hands.
- Julienne the carrots, then add to the salad bowl.
- Add the onions, radishes and rice noodles to the salad bowl.
- Thinly slice the tenderloin and add to the salad bowl.
- Drizzle over the dressing.
- Sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs over the top.
disclosure: Chez Us is proud to be a Tabasco Tastemaker. This trip was sponsored by Tabasco, and we have been hired to develop recipes using their products.