Brighten Up Your Next Pork Tenderloin With A Citrusy Fennel Side Salad

The mild, almost sweet flavor of pork tenderloin lends itself to many unique and tasty pairings, making it a versatile main dish to incorporate into your weekly dinners. When roasted, this cut of meat has a rich, umami-packed flavor. An easy way to cut through that richness is to serve a bright salad alongside it. Tasting Table's roast pork tenderloin with fennel-citrus salad lightens the savoriness of the pork and brings out the sweeter tasting notes.

A fennel-citrus salad pairs well with roasted pork because it offers new textures and freshness to the meat. The crunch of the thinly sliced fresh fennel and the juicy softness of the fruit bring an exciting mouthfeel. The roasted pork is chewier than these ingredients, so every bite can be different as you work your way through the meal. In this recipe, the pork receives a grapefruit marinade. Citrus and pork both have a subtle sweetness, which juxtaposes the umami flavor of the meat. Meanwhile, the fennel has a light licorice taste to it. This aromatic flavor brings in earthiness to balance the tang of the acidic fruit and brings attention to the charred, caramelized parts of the meat.

Side salad ingredients to pair with roasted pork tenderloin

You don't have to limit yourself to citrus and fennel when brainstorming potential side salads to pair with your pork tenderloin. Focusing on the sweet, fresh, earthy aspects of the salad gives you a good guideline for creating your own. One of the most classic pairings for pork is apples, so a sliced apple and arugula salad covers the flavor guidelines and carries its classic elements. You can even use a granny smith apple if you still wish to keep that sour tang you get from the citrus. The peppery arugula is slightly bitter, which helps balance the sweetness but won't take away from the main flavors.

Tasting Table's fennel-citrus salad uses grapefruit and blood oranges, but there are many types of winter citrus that you could experiment with. If you want a less intense version of grapefruit, try a pomelo, which offers a similar taste but not as bitter or sour. Blood oranges can be difficult to find at some grocery stores. If you can't find any, a clementine is a sweeter, more accessible option.