- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fajitas, a delicious dish of marinated and grilled skirt steak, is a popular part of my outdoor grilling routine.

There’s nothing like charcoal, lime and garlic to bring out the flavor in this tough meat cut. Unfortunately, as much as I try, broiling the meat indoors is a distant second best.

However, pork tenderloin is an alternative that’s just as tasty when prepared stovetop, using a heavy skillet, instead of on the grill. The tenderloin cut also has the advantage of having almost 75 percent less total fat and 25 percent fewer calories than skirt steak.

When buying pork tenderloin, choose a product that isn’t enhanced with seasonings. Look for the smallest tenderloin, which should weigh about 12 ounces.

If you can only find a large tenderloin, cut it in half; wrap one half in heavy-duty aluminum foil and freeze for up to one month; prepare the remainder.

In a traditional beef fajitas recipe, the meat is marinated in lime juice several hours or overnight to tenderize it. Pork tenderloin doesn’t require that. Instead, marinate the mild-tasting pork to add a zesty flavor.

Here is a recipe that will satisfy any mouthwatering yearnings you have for summer grilling.

Pork fajitas

1 garlic clove, minced

1 jalapeno chili, cored, seeded and minced

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

½ to 3/4 pound pork tenderloin, thinly sliced on the diagonal

1 tablespoon canola oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 8-inch whole-wheat flour tortillas

Fresh avocado and tomato salsa (follows)

Combine garlic, chili, cumin, lime juice, salt and pepper in medium-size glass bowl. Add pork slices to bowl. Stir well to coat with lime-juice mixture. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 4 hours.

Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed skillet. Drain and reserve pork marinade.

Add pork slices to skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until browned on one side. Turn over and cook second side 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour in marinade. Liquid will sizzle. Cook over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, while scraping up browned bits in skillet. Marinade should come to boil; pork should be cooked through.

Divide pork between two tortillas. Top with salsa and fold up. Makes 2 servings.

Note: If desired, serve salsa on the side.

Avocado and tomato salsa

½ cup coarsely chopped cherry tomatoes

1 small avocado, pitted and diced

½ cup chopped scallions, green and white parts

1 small jalapeno chili, cored, seeded and minced

1 small garlic clove, minced

1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Combine tomatoes, avocado, scallions, chili, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Set aside 5 minutes for flavors to blend.

Bev Bennett is the author of “30-Minute Meals for Dummies” (John Wiley & Sons).


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