Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pork Tenderloin

I have a favorite recipe for pork tenderloin that seems to never disappoint. I've made it for countless dinner parties, brought it to camp outs for cooking on the grill, and it is a staple in our home dinner rotation. I recently prepared a meal with a friend who wanted different ideas for her family's dinners. I chose pork tenderloin as the main dish since it is simple to prepare and cooks in little time- both great qualities for a busy mom.

One gadget that makes the preparation of this or any other larger piece of protein a cinch, is a digital thermometer with an alarm. It enables you to set the desired temperature and will sound an alarm when the internal temperature of the meat reaches that temperature. For this cut of meat, I find 145 degrees is a safe temperature that leaves the meat moist and juicy.

Pork Tenderloin

1 12-ounce pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat and silver skin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
Pinch of ground allspice

Combine the salt, pepper, thyme, and allspice in a small bowl. Place the pork tenderloin on a large sheet of plastic wrap laid out on your countertop and rub the spice mixture and the minced garlic onto all sides of the meat. Wrap the pork tenderloin in the plastic wrap and if preparing within an hour, allow to sit at room temperature until ready to sear. The tenderloin can also be seasoned a few hours ahead of time, wrapped in plastic wrap, and kept in the refrigerator until ready to sear.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place an oven-safe pan with a diameter large enough to fit the length of your tenderoin over medium-high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil and when the oil is hot, but not yet smoking, place the tenderloin in the hot pan and allow it to sit, without moving, until the underside is seared. You will know when it is time to turn the meat when it easily releases from the pan. Repeat until browned on all sides. Place the pan in the preheated oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and cover with aluminum foil, allowing to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
The rub on this meat is flavorful enough on its own, but if desired, you can make a pan sauce with the beautiful frond that will be left in the pan. Here's a rough guide that will surely require some experimentation on your part: Use white wine or chicken stock with a dash of white wine vinegar to deglaze the pan then reduce to sauce consistency. Remove from heat and whisk in cold unsalted butter until nicely emulsified and tastes balanced. Add additional salt and pepper as needed.

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