When you picture dinner in my house, do you imagine two starving little middle schoolers, banging utensils on the table with both hands, and rolling their eyes at their mother as she snaps photos and re-positions garnishes just so? Or me shouting “one more second” from the next room waiting for the sun to sink to just the right place, creating optimal lighting conditions? Well, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. That happens — but only selectively. To think that we are making something that needs to be photographed every single night is to assume two things: 1) That we are cooking something brand new every single night and 2) That what we are making is always fit for DALS. (Believe it or not, just because it was eaten in the DALS house doesn’t mean it’s a DALS-esque meal — the super-dry chicken burgers that went unfinished by even the grown-ups come to mind, as does the sushi take-out we ordered this past Saturday night.) The truth is, we have our weeknight family favorites — most of which are bundled up and memorialized in two books now — as well as our various permutations of those favorites, and in order for a meal to qualify as “blog-worthy” there has to be a little learning involved. If I’m writing a post where the recipe is the star, the answer to the question “Is there something new to write about here?” must always be “yes.”
So there I was on Labor Day, the night before school started, eating my grilled pork tacos with peach salsa (prepared by Andy) and not even thinking about taking a photo because hey, we’ve written up tons of tacos already…heck, we’ve even written up pork with peaches. But mid-way through my dinner I realized that something magical was going on with this taco, besides the fact that every diner at the table had stopped talking in order to focus and grunt a little — the cilantro-heavy, sweet-hot, more-peach-than-tomato salsa was a revelation. And when we drizzled some Mexican crema on top of the spice-rubbed pork, well…I wouldn’t have been able to stop myself from eating long enough to take a photo, even if the sun had been in the right position. For the rest of the night I was following Andy around the house asking “Why didn’t you make me take a photo of that dinner? It would’ve been perfect for the blog…” (His response: “Wow, you really blew that one.”)
So I had no choice but to recreate it for lunch the next day. That’s how much I love you. And this dinner. Here you go:
Grilled Spice-Rubbed Pork Tacos with Peach Salsa
Makes about 6 tacos (2 for 2 grown-ups, one for each kid)…
For the Salsa:
1 peach or nectarine, chopped into bite size pieces as shown
6-8 cherry tomatoes, chopped into bite-size pieces as shown
2 teaspoons shallot (or red onion), minced
2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped
juice from half a lime
dash of red wine vinegar
dash of hot sauce
2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 pork tenderloin
Make your rub. In a small bowl mix together all spices. Using your fingers, smear it all over a pork loin. Let it sit for a coupla hours — or less if you don’t have a coupla hours. (Also, wash your hands thoroughly afterwards, especially if you will be taking your contacts out later — nothing like a little cayenne in your eyeballs to ensure an uncomfortable night’s sleep.)
Grill pork over medium-hot coals, flipping all the while, for about 15-20 minutes until loin is firm to the touch but not rock hard. You can also cook your pork in two tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch Oven over medium heat. (Internal temp should be about 140° if you like to measure doneness that way.) Slice into bite size pieces and place on a platter.
Grill six tortillas for about ten seconds a side — or over a stovetop flame. (Hence the burner shaped-char on the taco pictured above.)
Place pork, tortillas, peach salsa, and crema on the dinner table and have everyone assemble their own tacos.
We served this with a side of brown rice mixed with black beans (that had been simmering with a bay leaf and fresh lime juice), then topped that with queso fresco crumbles, and more cilantro and lime juice.