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red peppers

Karista's Kitchen Pork Sauces, Salsas and More

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Roasted Red Pepper Hazelnut Sauce

Roasted Red Peppers, Hazelnut, sauce for pork

Roasted Red Pepper Hazelnut Sauce

I always keep a spare pork tenderloin, or two, in the freezer.  It’s one of those quick fix meals that pairs beautifully with most any sauce or roasted winter fruit.  I had planned to use this tenderloin with a spiced apple compote, which is delicious, but I just wasn’t feelin’ the apples that day.

I must be longing for summer, or maybe I need extra vitamin C,  because my taste buds have been craving the flavor of roasted red peppers.  A little smoky, slightly sweet with a touch of tang, that makes for a lovely pairing with pork, lamb, poultry, pasta and veggies.

And don’t get me started with the mini roasted sweet peppers.  I can eat them like candy.  So sweet and so flavorful, I often roast them with a little oil, salt and pepper and serve them as a side dish.  They’re also fabulous stuffed with cheese.

Bell peppers (and mini sweets) make the loveliest sauces, salsas, and relishes.  Complimenting grilled or roasted meats and fish so beautifully.  I read somewhere that bell peppers are like the Christmas ornaments of the vegetable world.  All that bright beautiful color in all those wonderful shapes and sizes.

This sassy little sauce is no exception.  Combined with toasted hazelnuts, fresh herbs and olive oil, this sauce’s bright orange/red color is pleasing to the eye and tantalizing to the taste buds.

Extravagant in taste, but simply prepared.  My favorite kind of weeknight meal 🙂

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Roasted Red Pepper Hazelnut Sauce

Serves 4


1 1/2 pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/2 to 1 inch medallions

Salt and pepper

4 tablespoons high heat oil, or clarified butter (ghee)

Fresh chopped Italian parsley (for garnish)

Sauce Ingredients

2 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded

1/3 cup Hazelnuts, roasted and skinned

2 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon Thai Kitchen roasted red chili paste or a dash of hot sauce

½ cup extra virgin olive oil  (decrease the olive oil to ¼-1/3 to use this sauce as a pesto or dip)


To Prepare the Sauce:

Place all the sauce ingredients, except the olive oil, in the bowl of a food processor or blender and blend until the hazelnuts are finely ground.

Next, with the processor running, pour the olive oil over the mixture until well blended.  The sauce should have a very thick salad dressing consistency.  You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl several times in between blending.

The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to one week.   Bring the sauce to room temperature before using or warm lightly in a double boiler, never getting the sauce to hot as the oil will separate.

Serve over any grilled meats and poultry.  Or serve as a dip for crudités or pesto for Crostini. 

To Prepare the Pork Tenderloin Medallions:

Season the medallions with salt and pepper on both sides.  Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot and shimmering,  add the medallions (you may need to cook in batches) adding more oil as needed.

When they are brown on the first side, flip and brown them on the second side.  It shouldn’t take long for the pork medallions to cook through, 2 minutes on each side depending on thickness.  Pork should be cooked to 145F internal temperature for perfectly moist and juicy pork.

Ladle the sauce on a platter and place the cooked pork on top of the sauce.  Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Chef Jerry Traunfeld, The Herbfarm Cookbook (a must have in your cook book library!)

Chicken Grilling Pasta Pork Shrimp vegetarian

Spicy Tomato And Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Years ago when I lived in Arizona, there was a delightful little Mexican cantina that we loved to frequent.  The food was simply divine.  The atmosphere transported you to another time, another place, and made sipping their signature Blueberry margarita a little piece of heaven.

I don’t think I could tell you what dish on that menu I liked best.  It was all delicious.  Fresh flavors prepared with fresh ingredients and blended together in unique Mexican and Spanish inspired dishes.

One of the recipes I often ordered was a Romesco like red sauce gently ladled over Mexican shrimp.  It was a little spicy, a little smoky, and rich with ripe tomatoes and roasted red peppers.

I’ve strived to achieve that red sauce at home and I think I’ve come pretty darn close.  Like a Spanish Romesco sauce, this sauce is made of toasted almonds, fresh herbs, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and the secret ingredient that I love so much but my family begs me to stop using… chipotle chili powder!  I love the way the chipotle chili powder creates a smoky spicy flavor to the sauce.

And to make this sauce even more exciting, it’s simply prepared in a blender or food processor!  Whoo Hoo!

It pairs beautifully with grilled, roasted or pan seared meats, shellfish, herbed white beans and your favorite pasta.

Beautiful in color and fresh in flavor, it’s a perfect spring and summer sauce.  Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

Serves 4


1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained (I prefer Muir Glen)

2 red bell peppers, roasted, skinned and seeded

2-3 cloves garlic, smashed

¼ cup toasted almonds (can substitute with pecans or hazelnuts)

2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons assorted coarsely chopped fresh herbs (oregano, Italian parsley,

Rosemary, basil)

¼ – ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (can substitute with regular chili powder)

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


In a blender or food processor, add the tomatoes, roasted pepper, garlic, almonds, vinegar, sugar, fresh herbs and chile powder. Pulse until the ingredients are nicely blended.

Add the olive oil and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate unused portions for up to a week. When re-heating, bring to room temperature and if needed, gently warm on the stove top. Over-heating the sauce could cause it to separate.

Serve over grilled meats, shellfish, herbed white beans, or your favorite pasta.