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Herbs and spices add flavor to grilled pork tenderloin


Texans call them "salves"; in the Carolinas, they're labeled "rubs." These concentrated medleys of herbs and spices, sometimes mixed with full-flavored liquid ingredients, are rubbed into the surface of meat, fish or poultry for tons of flavor. Rubbing the spice blend a day in advance of cooking is similar to marinating. The spices permeate the meat, fish or poultry and tenderize as well. If you only have time to add the coating last minute, it still serves as a vibrant blanket of tastes. This concentrated liquid rendition doubles as the sopping sauce which the meat, in Texas lingo, "sops up."

Pork tenderloin is one of the leanest but most tender cuts of pork. It also cooks in an amazingly short amount of time, making it efficient for our Fast theme. Grilling complements the mild meat, but hot and fast oven baking also produces a nicely browned surface with a juicy center.

Black beans and grilled fresh vegetables go well with the Southwestern pork and can be prepared while the tenderloin grills. Heat the beans on the stove on low heat or in the microwave in a glass bowl. Cut the squash lengthwise into 3/8 -inch thick slices and drizzle with olive oil and then salt and pepper to taste. Prepare the zucchini similarly and place the flat slices of vegetables on the grill during the last six minutes of pork cooking time; turn them once. If they begin to overcook, transfer them to the indirect heat of the grill to keep warm and leave there while slicing the pork. Rich, refreshing, cookie crunch ice cream makes a nice dessert.

Items you should have in your pantry are: fresh garlic, fresh limes, dark Oriental sesame oil, cumin, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Your 10-item-or-less shopping list:

Whole yellow mustard seed (spice aisle)

2 (12 ounces) pork tenderloins

1 16-ounce can black beans

1 medium zucchini

1 medium to large crookneck squash

Grilled pork tenderloin with salve and sauce

Serves four.

5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons whole yellow mustard seed

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons dark sesame oil

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 (12 ounces) pork tenderloin

Light grill to medium-high flame or heat.

In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients except pork. The mustard seeds will not be completely crushed.

Dry the pork by patting with a paper towel. Coat it liberally with the salve and place on grill. Cover grill with a lid or tent with foil to keep in heat and smokey flavor. Roll the pork every four minutes while basting with salve. Grill pork for a total of 16 minutes for medium and 18 to 20 minutes for well done.

Remove from grill and let stand covered for 5 minutes, then carve into 3/8 -inch thick rounds.

Drizzle slices with remaining salve.

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