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The other white meat...

La Petite Maison Verte: The other white meat...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The other white meat...

I'm a huge fan of pork tenderloin. When prepared right its so moist, flavorful and tender, not to mention inexpensive and easy to find at any grocery store. Being out here in eastern NC, you can't take quality ingredients for granted and you can't always hope to find unusual ingredients or obscure cuts of meat either. That being said, I have noticed that when I go to the grocery store there are usually at least 4 or 5 different varieties of marinated pork tenderloin and you can only find a plain, unseasoned one if you're lucky. I have never tried a pre-marinated pork tenderloin so I can't say anything good or bad about them, but I like to season my food myself so I know exactly what is going into it and I don't add any preservatives or chemicals...I like my food to be all-natural.

Well, recently I came across this recipe for Balsamic Garlic Crusted Pork Tenderloin and since I already had all of the ingredients except the pork tenderloin itself, I bookmarked the page and planned to make it last week. Can I just tell you I am SO GLAD I made this!! The marinade came together quickly and easily and the flavor was phenominal. I wouldn't change a single thing. I marinated the pork for about 24 hours so on the day I planned to cook and serve it, my job was simple: sear it and roast it. According to the recipe, you could also grill the pork (and that was my initial plan, but B decided he didn't feel like grilling after he got home from a very long day at work) but the oven directions are spot-on. I will say that I didn't read the recipe very carefully so I didn't notice that the original recipe makes enough marinade for two pork tenderloins. Since I was only preparing one (as its just B and myself) I would ordinarily have halved the recipe for the marinade but luckily it didn't matter in the least. It worked out fine for one tenderloin but I'm sure there would have been plenty for two. Anyhow, I do hope you give this recipe a try, I'm sure you will love it as much as we did. And as B says when he REALLY likes something, "You should add this one to the recipe box!"

I served the pork tenderloin with steamed asparagus, oven roasted curry cauliflower and a loaf of homemade bread. You could serve it with anything or nothing and it would still be amazing.

Balsamic Garlic Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Adapted from the recipe originally posted here

4-5 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pork tenderloins (about 1ΒΌ pounds each) - I used one pork tenderloin (about 1.7 lbs)
2 tablespoons canola oil (if preparing in oven)

Stir together garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl. Rub the paste all over pork. If you have the time, marinate overnight in a large ziploc plastic bag, or as long as you can even if its just a few hours.

Grill preparation:
Sear the tenderloins on all sides, then grill for about 20-30 minutes, rotating every 10 minutes, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees. Try to let it rest before slicing.

Oven preparation:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat canola oil in a large, heavy saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add pork, and brown all over, about 4 minutes per side.

Transfer pan to oven. Roast pork, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees, about 20 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board, and try to let it rest 10 minutes before slicing, covered with a sheet of aluminum foil.

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