Summer is such a fleeting season for Minnesotans that anything associated with it should be appreciated to the fullest. While there are a few things that might be hard to appreciate, such as mosquitoes or the bad hair days that come with the heat and humidity, something that’s easy to love is summer fruit.
Strawberries, blueberries, melons, plums — the list is endless (well, almost), and so are the ways to enjoy them. Our favorite pies, cobblers, jams and jellies are all trotted out this time of year. And of course, fresh fruit makes a wonderful snack, side dish or dessert all on its own.
Finding unexpected ways to use fruit is also fun; that’s why I like to work it into a main dish whenever possible. And this time of year it’s definitely possible.
One of my favorite savory fruit partners is pork. It’s moist (if cooked correctly) and flavorful, while still being mild enough to highlight the flavor of other ingredients, as well. And, as we all know, the “other white meat” is now considered a healthy lean protein option, with average cuts being up to 27 percent leaner than they were 20 years ago.
Along with leaner cuts, in the past couple of years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has changed its guidelines for cooking pork. The recommended temperature was lowered from 160 degrees to 145 degrees, which means you no longer have to cook pork until it begs for mercy. Medium-rare, which leaves the meat tender and juicy, is now an option.
Pork tenderloin is a great cut of meat. It’s lean, it’s tender and it cooks quickly. I like to grill it simply, with a coating of Dijon mustard, and serve it with a quick and easy sauté of peaches glazed in honey and spiked with aromatic rosemary. This dish is perfect for any occasion. The unusual pairing of pork and peaches will wow dinner guests, and the fact that it all comes together in about 30 minutes makes it a great weeknight family meal, too.
Sweet or savory, don’t miss the chance to enjoy summer fruit as much as you can. And maybe freeze a little while you’re at it. You know you’ll miss it when it’s gone.
Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of “Everyday to Entertaining” and “The Big Book of Appetizers.” Reach her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.