Are you looking for an easy but exquisite meal that will knock your socks off, but won’t knock you off your New Year’s resolution to eat lean? You can’t go wrong with this pork specialty. The moment I tasted it, it was love at first bite – for me and for everyone else at the event that Scottsdale Chef Linda Martin was catering. A Guava Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Cuban Salsa, prepared by Chef Martin, was all people could talk about, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the recipe and serve this ultra-flavorful dish to friends and family. Linda Martin is a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef with more than 14 years of experience and a Valley favorite. She is well-known as a popular chef at Sweet Basil Cooking School and Gourmetware in Scottsdale, the featured chef for Dacor Luxury Appliances, and the owner of her own catering company, Linda’s Dinner Designs. I’ve had many dished created by Chef Martin, but the Guava Glazed Tenderloin has become an all-time favorite. Thank you, Chef Martin, for sharing it!
As a butcher’s daughter, I learned early on the definition of phrases like dry-aged beef (hung on a rack to dry for several weeks to concentrate flavor and tenderize the beef) and wet-aged beef (typically aged in a vacuum-sealed bag to retain moisture). Whether wet or dry-aged, my father’s approach to cooking a great steak was to keep it simple; a slight coating of olive oil, salt, pepper, and, if possible, allow most of the high heat to come from a top element like a salamander broiler, which allows the juices to drain down through the beef and not onto the pan. That’s how I was taught, and that’s how I cooked steaks most of my life. But in the last decade, the idea of rubbing steak with coffee and chocolate to match a steak’s rich, beefy flavor has become a popular method. Add to it bold spices like toasted, ground coriander seeds and it becomes anything but “your father’s steak.” Rather than the traditional baked potato accompaniment, a spicy tomato chutney is spooned over the top of the steak making this dish a simple, elegant, and complete main meal – and a real butcher’s daughter delight!
It’s not very often that I am gifted a sensational recipe from an exquisitely talented master chef. In this case, it’s a chef who is an inductee into the American Academy of Chef’s Culinary Hall of Fame, and the man who started the culinary programs at both The Art Institute of Phoenix and The Art Institute of Tucson. Now retired, Chef Bill Sy still guest teaches Asian Cuisine at the Art Institute of Phoenix, and if you want to learn the art of making a perfect pot sticker, he’s the man. Fortunately for all of us, Chef Sy believes in passing along ancient Chinese secrets. I was lucky enough to watch him in action years ago, and I’ll never forget the authentic flavor of the pot stickers and his simple technique for mastering those billowy pockets of goodness. So here is the recipe, from the chef who has won the respect and reverence of his peers, and who believes that cultivating talent and passing on traditions is his lifelong duty. Make him proud!