Pork Tenderloin Tacos with Street Corn Avocado Salsa & Cashew Crema

pork tenderloin tacos
Forgot take pic. This is from What Molly Made.
Will replace as soon as I make again!
I am
on a mission to use up everything in my chest freezer. We are having our kitchen renovated starting in September and won’t have use of it for several months. That means meats and other things that have been in the freezer for awhile need to be used now. 

I had a couple packages of pork tenderloins to use up. I love tacos and street corn, so this recipe pairing the two by Molly Thompson on a site called What Molly Made really popped for me. I decided to make one of my pork tenderloin packages using this recipe, and will make the other package into my fav Banh Mi Slow cooker recipe. Leftovers will be easy to use up.

As this recipe has 3 elements - meat, salsa, and cashew crema to make, I decided to get the cashews soaking and put the meat in the marinade the night before. The next morning I will finish the cashew crema, and mid-afternoon I will throw together the salsa. That would leave just cooking the meat and charring the tortillas at supper time. Perfect. 

A couple notes. I used flour tortillas as I find in Canada the corn tortillas aren’t that great, and I only used one tortilla per taco. Just a preference. I also warmed the tortillas in the microwave instead of charring them.  I did fry the meat in small batches in a hot non-stick pan as suggested, but I could also see barbecuing it, or baking it in an extremely hot oven. The flavor would be similar, but the juiciness and texture would be different. And I had to use unsalted roasted cashews as my store was out of raw, but it turned out fine.

In the end, I really enjoyed these tacos. I like the bit of crisp on the meat from frying and especially enjoyed the cashew crema. This recipe is def on my make again soon list.


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Pork Tenderloin Tacos with Street Corn Salsa
6 servings

Ingredients -

Pork Tenderloin Tacos

1- ½ lbs.            Pork tenderloin thinly sliced into ⅛-inch strips
¼ C                   Olive oil or avocado oil
2                        Limes juiced (⅓ cup)
2 T                     Honey
3 cloves             Minced garlic
2 tsp                   Ground cumin
2 tsp.                  Chili powder
1 tsp                   Paprika
1 tsp                   Dried oregano
1 tsp                   Kosher salt
12 corn or flour tortillas, more if double wrapping

Street Corn Avocado Salsa

2 C                    Grilled or steamed corn fresh or frozen (I pan roasted)
½                      Jalapeno seeded and minced
¼ C                   Finely diced red onion
1 large               Avocado diced
1 clove              Garlic, minced
Juice from 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
2 T                     Olive oil
½ C                    Finely chopped cilantro
¼ tsp                  Cumin
1 tsp                   Kosher salt

Cashew Crema

1 C                     Raw unsalted cashews plus water for soaking (I had to use unsalted roasted)
2/3 C                  Cold water
Juice from 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
1 clove                Garlic
½ tsp                   Onion powder
1/2 tap                Kosher salt

Instructions -

 Lay the pork tenderloin lengthwise on the cutting board and slice it into ¼-inch slices. Take those ¼-inch slices and cut them into ⅛-inch strips. The thinner they are, the quicker they cook and the crispier they’ll be. I would also cross slice into a 3-4 inch length.

Add all of the marinade ingredients, including the oil, lime juice, honey, garlic and spices to a bowl or ziplock bag and mix or shake to combine. Place the sliced pork tenderloin in the marinade and toss to coat. Marinate for 20 minutes or up to 12 hours. You can prep the salsa and crema while you wait to maximize time.

To make the salsa - add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl and toss to combine. Store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. NOTE: I like to pan roast the corn. Just heat a non-stick pan, add a little butter if you like or you can dry fry. Add your frozen or fresh corn and flip it constantly as the corn cooks. It is done when you have little brown flecks on the corn. 

To make the crema -
Add the cashews to a microwave-safe bowl and cover them with water. Microwave on high for 3 minutes then drain the water from the cashews and rinse them with cold water to bring their temperature down. Add the softened cashews to a high-speed blender or food processor with the fresh water, garlic, salt, onion powder, and lime juice. Blend on high speed for at least 2 minutes until it’s really creamy and smooth, with no visible lumps from the cashews. Transfer it to a bowl and store in the fridge while you finish the tacos.

To fry the meat - Heat a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a heavy bottom skillet or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot and shimmering, add half of the marinated pork, shaking the pork to remove excess marinade. Too much moisture from the marinade and overcrowding the pan will cause the pork to steam rather than crisp. Cook the pork slices on both sides for 2-3 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. The thinner the pork slices, the faster it cooks. Transfer the first batch to a clean plate or bowl and repeat with the remaining half of the tenderloin.

Warm or char the tortillas by cooking them on an open burner for 45 seconds a side, then fill with seared pork. You could also warm in microwave or oven. Top the tacos with the corn salsa, drizzle with crema and finish with finely chopped cilantro.