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Marianna Leivaditaki deconstructs pork souvlaki
Milk Street Bowtie Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki and Tomato-Onion Salad

Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki and Tomato-Onion Salad

1 hour

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Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki and Tomato-Onion Salad

Free

In her book “Aegean,” Crete-born London chef Marianna Leivaditaki reveals that after a recent visit to Turkey, she began incorporating fenugreek in her cooking, especially on grilled pork of all sorts. We, too, think that fenugreek, with its notes of mustard, fennel and maple, brings intriguing and unique flavor to any dish to which it’s added (fenugreek is a key ingredient in curry powder). In adapting Leivaditaki’s recipe for an herb and spice-rubbed pork tenderloin, we sear the seasoned meat on the stovetop and finish it in a hot oven before thinly slicing it for serving (you will need an oven-safe 12-inch skillet for this recipe). To the seasoning mix, we add a little smoked paprika to evoke the flavors of an outdoor grill. “Souvlaki” often refers to meat cooked on skewers, but Leivaditaki explains that in Crete, souvlaki is meat wrapped in pita. This recipe also includes a creamy, garlicky tzatziki and a juicy tomato-onion salad for tucking into the bread with the pork.

6 to 8

Servings

Tip

Don’t sear the pork until it’s deeply browned. Aim for a light to medium sear so the spice rub doesn’t scorch and the meat does not wind up overcooked. Also, be sure to allow the pork to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. This gives the juices time to redistribute throughout the muscle fibers so they won’t all run out when the tenderloin is sliced.

1 hour

2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or ¾ teaspoon sweet paprika plus ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek (see headnote)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, preferably hot
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Two 1¼-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin and halved crosswise
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and seeded
1/2 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 ripe medium tomatoes, cored, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons
Yogurt and olive oil flatbreads or pita bread, to serve
Ingredients
  • 2

    teaspoons dried oregano, divided

  • 2

    teaspoons dried thyme

  • 1

    teaspoon Aleppo pepper or ¾ teaspoon sweet paprika plus ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1

    teaspoon ground fenugreek (see headnote)

  • 1

    teaspoon smoked paprika, preferably hot

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • Two 1¼-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin and halved crosswise

  • 1

    English cucumber, halved lengthwise and seeded

  • ½

    large red onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 2

    tablespoons lemon juice

  • 6

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • ½

    cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

  • 2

    medium garlic cloves, finely grated

  • 1
  • 2

    ripe medium tomatoes, cored, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons

  • Yogurt and olive oil flatbreads or pita bread, to serve

Directions
  1. 01
    Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon of oregano, the thyme, Aleppo pepper, fenugreek, paprika and 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Sprinkle this mixture all over the pork, rubbing it into the meat; set aside at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
  2. 02
    Meanwhile, set a colander in a medium bowl and set a box grater in the colander. Shred the cucumber on the grater's large holes. Sprinkle the cucumber with ½ teaspoon salt, toss to combine and set aside to drain. In another medium bowl, stir together the onion, lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside.
  3. 03
    In an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the center of the thickest tenderloin reaches 135°F or is just slightly pink when cut into, 9 to 12 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven (the handle will be hot) and transfer the pork to a platter. Let rest for about 10 minutes.
  4. 04
    While the pork rests, use your hands to squeeze the cucumber to remove excess water. In a small bowl, stir together the cucumber, yogurt, garlic, vinegar and 3 tablespoons of the remaining oil. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
  5. 05
    To the onion mixture, add the tomatoes, the remaining 1 teaspoon oregano and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Gently toss to combine, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Thinly slice each piece and return to the platter. Serve the pork with the tzatziki, tomato salad and pita.
Tip: Don’t sear the pork until it’s deeply browned. Aim for a light to medium sear so the spice rub doesn’t scorch and the meat does not wind up overcooked. Also, be sure to allow the pork to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. This gives the juices time to redistribute throughout the muscle fibers so they won’t all run out when the tenderloin is sliced.
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Reviews
Katherine M.
September 1, 2022
Just wow!
I made this for a dinner with friends. They raved about how tender the pork was, amazed at having made my own pita breads, the tomato onion Salad, and they ate ALL of a DOUBLE recipe of tzatziki sauce!
Diana S.
August 27, 2022
Delicious!
I actually cooked the pork in the sous vide, but otherwise followed the recipe. It was surprisingly easy, but really packs in flavor. A keeper fir sure!
Kristine M.

This was FABULOUS and pretty easy! My husband lived in Greece back in the day, and he gave this rave reviews. Served it with the wonderful yogurt and olive oil flatbreads for a really great Saturday night treat. BTW, I hate cucumber, so omitted it from the tzatziki, and it was so flavorful, he didn't miss the cukes at all. Can't wait to make it again!

Lori P.

This was great. My husband grilled the pork outside and it was extremely flavorful.


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Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki and Tomato-Onion Salad

Get Ready to Cook

6 to 8

Servings

1 hour

Tip

Don’t sear the pork until it’s deeply browned. Aim for a light to medium sear so the spice rub doesn’t scorch and the meat does not wind up overcooked. Also, be sure to allow the pork to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. This gives the juices time to redistribute throughout the muscle fibers so they won’t all run out when the tenderloin is sliced.

Ingredients
  • 2

    teaspoons dried oregano, divided

  • 2

    teaspoons dried thyme

  • 1

    teaspoon Aleppo pepper or ¾ teaspoon sweet paprika plus ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1

    teaspoon ground fenugreek (see headnote)

  • 1

    teaspoon smoked paprika, preferably hot

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • Two 1¼-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin and halved crosswise

  • 1

    English cucumber, halved lengthwise and seeded

  • ½

    large red onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 2

    tablespoons lemon juice

  • 6

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • ½

    cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

  • 2

    medium garlic cloves, finely grated

  • 1
  • 2

    ripe medium tomatoes, cored, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons

  • Yogurt and olive oil flatbreads or pita bread, to serve

Step 1 of 5

Make Pork Rub

1
teaspoons dried oregano
2
teaspoons dried thyme
1
teaspoon Aleppo pepper or ¾ teaspoon sweet paprika plus ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1
teaspoon ground fenugreek (see headnote)
1
teaspoon smoked paprika, preferably hot
1
teaspoon kosher salt
1
teaspoon ground black pepper
Two 1¼-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin and halved crosswise

Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position.


In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon of oregano, the thyme, Aleppo pepper, fenugreek, paprika and 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper.


Sprinkle this mixture all over the pork, rubbing it into the meat; set aside at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Step 2 of 5

Shred the Cucumber

1
English cucumber, halved lengthwise and seeded
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
½
large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2
tablespoons lemon juice

Meanwhile, set a colander in a medium bowl and set a box grater in the colander.


Shred the cucumber on the grater's large holes. Sprinkle the cucumber with ½ teaspoon salt, toss to combine and set aside to drain.


In another medium bowl, stir together the onion, lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside.

Step 3 of 5

Cook the Pork

2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

In an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering.


Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes total.


Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the center of the thickest tenderloin reaches 135°F or is just slightly pink when cut into, 9 to 12 minutes.


Remove the skillet from the oven (the handle will be hot) and transfer the pork to a platter. Let rest for about 10 minutes.

Step 4 of 5

Squeeze the Cucumber

1
English cucumber, halved lengthwise and seeded
½
cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2
medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1
teaspoon red wine vinegar
3
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

While the pork rests, use your hands to squeeze the cucumber to remove excess water.


In a small bowl, stir together the cucumber, yogurt, garlic, vinegar and 3 tablespoons of the remaining oil. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.

Step 5 of 5

Gentle Toss

2
ripe medium tomatoes, cored, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons
1
teaspoons dried oregano
1
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

To the onion mixture, add the tomatoes, the remaining 1 teaspoon oregano and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.


Gently toss to combine, then taste and season with salt and pepper.


Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Thinly slice each piece and return to the platter. Serve the pork with the tzatziki, tomato salad and pita.

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