AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Million Dollar Recipe: Vanilla Scented Pork DATE: 3/27/2009 05:13:00 AM ----- BODY:
Here it is folks – the one recipe that will impress all your friends.

When I first ventured on my own as a private chef, business was a little slow. To make ends meet, I picked up a few events for other private chefs. On one occasion, after a long night of dinner parties, we all returned to the head chef’s home where he cooked us dinner. He tossed a few extra duck breasts in a bowl with soy sauce, vanilla, garlic and thyme and then roasted them. When the duck skin rendered enough fat, he added a few sliced apples to the pan. The vanilla flavor filled my mouth with its intoxicating aroma.

This marinade has become a staple in my repertoire and amplifies both duck and pork tenderloin. Sometimes, I add a sliver of Tahitian vanilla bean for an added explosion of flavor. Sweet potatoes taste like cotton candy when scooped up with a slice of the meat.

1 pound pork tenderloin
½ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 sprig thyme
2 garlic cloves, smashed
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon plain oil.

Put pork in a bowl with remaining ingredients. Let sit for at least one hour or overnight.

Turn oven to 400F. Heat an oven-proof skillet over high heat. Remove pork from marinade and pat dry. Add oil to pan and then pork. Sear on both sides, about 5 minutes. Put in the oven and continue cooking for about 5-10 minutes depending on the degree of doneness you desire.

Serve with sweet potato puree and green vegetables. If you're feeling saucy, you can also serve with a port reduction sauce.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger ChristyACB DATE:3/27/2009 09:22:00 AM That sounds absolutely declicious! Currently I've been experimenting with Vanilla paste, a very good one. I wonder if this would be a good substitute? ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Sara DATE:3/27/2009 10:57:00 AM Vanilla and pork sounds like a very unique and delicious flavor combination. I can't wait to make it! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger melissa DATE:3/27/2009 03:10:00 PM Huh. Vanilla. Never would I have thought to use that with meat. I'll keep it on file to try though because now I'm curious. Your pictures looks fabulous. :) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger jesse DATE:3/27/2009 04:28:00 PM Beautiful! I never would have paired vanilla with a savory dish, let alone meat, but it makes so much sense! I can almost taste it now... yum! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types DATE:3/27/2009 06:29:00 PM I keep hearing more and more about the magic of vanilla - it's not just for dessert anymore! This looks like a beautiful dish, and anything but "plain vanilla." ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Heather DATE:3/27/2009 10:30:00 PM vanilla scented pork?! yummo!! i'm definitely trying this. i love pork. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous noble pig DATE:3/27/2009 11:10:00 PM Wow, it sounds impressive, I would have never thought to add vanilla! Thanks for this. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger ttfn300 DATE:3/27/2009 11:35:00 PM this sounds amazing, and I must try it!! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:3/28/2009 06:40:00 AM ChristyACB - I have not used vanilla paste before, but I imagine if you can mix it into the soy based marinade it would be fine.

Sara -- You'll have to let me know how you like it.

Melissa -- Thomas Keller also uses vanilla with savory dishes -- a vanilla saffron sauce he serves with black sea bass is AMAZING!

jesse - thanks.

TW -- vanilla rarely is plain.

Heather -- I'm thinking we have very similar tastes... first the bacon, now the pork ;-)

noble pig -- i was surprised when I first discovered it too.

ttfn300 -- thanks for stopping by my blog! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger adele DATE:3/28/2009 04:42:00 PM Sounds incredible. I'll definitely keep this one in mind. :) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Anonymous DATE:3/29/2009 11:13:00 AM I am actually going to try this and I love your tip. I like find a secret ingredient and using it in different recipes. For instance, I use anchovy in a lot of sauces and braises to add depth. Thanks.

--Marc ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous chefectomy@gmail.com DATE:3/29/2009 11:14:00 AM I am actually going to try this and I love your tip. I like find a secret ingredient and using it in different recipes. For instance, I use anchovy in a lot of sauces and braises to add depth. Thanks.

--Marc ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger giz DATE:3/29/2009 10:51:00 PM Had I looked at this without the glowing report, I likely would have passed it by - now I really have to try it. Great sales job!! It really looks fantastic. ----- --------