Pork Loin with Thai Sauce and Papaya Salad Recipe
Wolfgang Puck's Kitchen - Recipes by Wolfgang Puck
By Wolfgang Puck, Tribune Media Services
One of my favorite surprises as a chef, and also as someone who loves
delicious, beautifully cooked food, has been the growing popularity of
Asian cuisines over the past three-plus decades that I have lived in
America. When I first arrived here, Asian cooking almost always meant
Chinese food, though a few adventurous souls tried Japanese sushi --
imagine how daring it felt back then to eat raw fish -- and many more
enjoyed that nation's popular cooked preparations like teriyaki and
Then, around the late 1970s or early '80s, Thai food started gaining in
popularity, with restaurants springing up everywhere serving complex,
incredibly flavorful food at very reasonable prices. I quickly fell in
love with the cuisine and its combinations of seasonings, balancing
spicy, sweet, sour, pungent, and salty flavors. Soon I began to
introduce Thai seasonings into my own cooking, offering dishes like
Pork Loin with Thai Sauce and Papaya Salad on the menu at Spago.
Mild-tasting yet full of flavor, pork is an ideal candidate for such a
Thai treatment. The dish was certainly a change of pace for me from the
way my mother cooked pork back in Austria, rubbing the meat with
caraway, garlic, marjoram, salt, and pepper before roasting it for
The secret to achieving authentic Thai flavors in this recipe comes
from preparing a Thai seasoning paste before doing anything else. It
includes cashews, which thicken the sauce as well as adding, along with
a little toasted sesame oil, a rich, nutty taste; honey and some plum
wine, available in the Asian food section of well-stocked markets, for
sweetness; fresh ginger and chili pepper, for heat and their own
aromatic flavors; garlic and green onions for their distinctive
pungency; and aromatic cumin and turmeric. I also include a little
balsamic vinegar, definitely not a traditional Thai ingredient, which I
find perfectly adjusts the balance of the paste with its combination of
tangy and sweet flavors. You'll have more than enough of the paste for
the four servings the recipe yields; the remainder will keep well for
several days covered in the refrigerator, ready to add flavor to
One of the things that really make this recipe, though, is the sweet
and spicy papaya salad that accompanies it. You often find such salads,
which complement the main dish like a relish or a salsa would, in
Southeast Asian cuisines. If you can't find good, ripe papaya, mango or
pineapple would make excellent substitutes.
Speaking of substitutions, this recipe would also be delicious made
with lamb tenderloins or with skinless, boneless chicken breasts. So
it's easy for you to go on and on being surprised by wonderful Thai
Pork Loin with Thai Sauce and Papaya Salad
1/4 pound unsalted raw cashews
1/2 cup plum wine
1 ounce peeled fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno chili, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup peanut oil
1-1/2 tablespoons turmeric
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon toasted Asian-style sesame oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
12 ounces ripe organic papaya or mango, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 jalapeno chili, stemmed, seeded, deveined, and finely chopped
2 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
4 radicchio leaves
1-1/2 pounds pork loin, cut crosswise into 4 equal medallions
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/2 cup Port
1 cup organic store-bought chicken broth
Fresh lime juice
First, make the Thai Paste:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread
the cashews on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown, about 10
minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Raise
the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.
Put the plum wine and ginger in a small saucepan and simmer over
medium-high heat until the liquid has evaporated. Put the ginger and
all the remaining Thai Paste ingredients in a food processor fitted
with the stainless-steel blade or in a blender. Puree them. Transfer
the paste to a bowl and set aside.
Next, make the Papaya Salad:
In a medium bowl, combine the papaya,
onion, cilantro, and jalapeno. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime
juice, vinegar, and honey. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and
refrigerate until serving time.
Season the pork medallions all over with salt and pepper and, with the
side of a cleaver or the bottom of a heavy plate, flatten them
slightly. Heat an ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add the peanut oil
and, as soon as it is hot enough to swirl easily, add the medallions
and saute until nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the
skillet to the oven and roast until the medallions are medium-rare,
about 15 minutes. Transfer the medallions to a plate and cover with
aluminum foil to keep warm.
Pour off all the fat from the skillet. Over high heat, add the Port and
stir and scrape to deglaze the pan deposits. Pour in the broth and
continue cooking until the sauce thickens slightly. Whisk in 1/4 cup of
the Thai paste and season to taste with salt, pepper, and lime juice.
Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing and season to taste with
salt and pepper. On one side of each warmed serving plate, place a
radicchio leaf to form a cup and mound some of the salad inside it.
Spoon some of the sauce on the other side of each plate and place a
pork medallion on top. Spoon more sauce over the pork and garnish with
a few cilantro leaves.
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About Wolfgang Puck
Wolfgang Puck, in the eyes of food lovers and experts alike, is one of the most famous chefs in America and arguably the world. He has spawned a culinary empire that includes a fine dining group of 12 internationally acclaimed restaurants in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Las Vegas, Chicago, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Maui; an extensive catering & events business with bases in Hollywood and Chicago, famed as official caterer to the Governors Ball following the Oscars; as well as Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc., a corporation that controls, licenses, and franchises the Wolfgang Puck brand in a wide variety of business activities, including casual Wolfgang Puck Cafes, fast-casual Wolfgang Puck Expresses, consumer packaged foods, cookware, book publishing, television, and the Internet.
For the first time, Puck shares his expert, easy-to-master approach to cooking in the newspaper arena through WOLFGANG PUCK?S KITCHEN, a newspaper column syndicated by Tribune Media Services.
The Austrian-born Puck began his formal training at age 14, inspired by his mother, Maria, a hotel chef. He left Europe for America in 1973 at the age of 24, having already worked in the master kitchens of three-star French restaurants. In 1975, Puck moved to Los Angeles, and soon was both chef and part-owner of Ma Maison. It quickly became a magnet for the rich and famous, with Puck as star attraction. Since then, he has changed the way Americans cook and eat by fusing formal French techniques and Asian- and California-influenced esthetics with the highest quality ingredients.
After the 1981 publication of the first of his five cookbooks, Puck, in partnership with designer Barbara Lazaroff, opened Spago. Located in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip, it was an instant success and culinary phenomenon from its opening day in 1982. Although the original location closed in 2000, three years after the successful opening of Spago Beverly Hills, Spago Hollywood today is remembered internationally as a legendary haven for entertainment, political and social luminaries.
In 2000, Puck developed his own "Wolfgang Puck" television show, which began airing on the Food Network in January 2001. The show features Puck sharing his cooking expertise with a studio audience who joins him in his kitchen, along with field documentary segments in which he explores the vast and diverse world of food, from farms to artisan workshops to restaurants, and visits with such luminaries as Julia Child, Robert Mondavi and Paul Bocuse. "Wolfgang Puck" was awarded a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Service Show in 2002.
Puck also appears regularly on ABC's "Good Morning America," sharing his latest creations. He has been a guest on a multitude of other shows, including "The Late Show with David Letterman," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Entertainment Tonight," "ABC News with Peter Jennings," "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather," "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher," "Frasier," and "The Simpsons." In 2001, the A&E Network featured Puck's life on its popular "Biography" series.
Puck and partner Barbara Lazaroff are actively involved in many philanthropic endeavors and charitable organizations, including their own Puck-Lazaroff Charitable Foundation, established in 1982, which supports the annual American Wine & Food Festival to benefit Meals-on-Wheels.
Puck lives in Beverly Hills. He and Barbara Lazaroff have two sons, Cameron and Byron.
(c) 2008 WOLFGANG PUCK WORLDWIDE, INC. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
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