Thursday, July 25, 2013

Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin

So here I am in the middle of summer, cooking meat in the oven while my grill sits idle on the patio. I’ll admit, it does feel a bit wrong, but for weeknights when I need to get dinner on the table in a minimum of time, being able to skip that bit of extra effort to prep the grill is worth it. Also, popping the meat in the oven with a remote thermometer to watch over it gives me the freedom to do other things instead of hovering over the grill while drinking a beer….wait, wasn't I trying to convince myself that I shouldn't be grilling? Anyway, pork tenderloin is one of my favorite cuts of meat because it is quite versatile when it comes to trying different seasonings or preparations, and also makes for great leftovers. Perhaps second only to leftover Thanksgiving turkey, a few thin slices of cold tenderloin makes a great foundation for a sandwich. Tenderloin is a perfect cut of pork for a fast weeknight meal because it is naturally tender (duh) and flavorful, so a time consuming dip in brine prior to cooking is not necessary like it often can be for pork chops. Tenderloins also tend to be small (around 1 lb each) so they can be cooked quickly in the oven using high heat (quick cooking also prevents it from drying out). Lastly, by using a breadcrumb coating you can get an appealing brown color to the crust in the oven, therefore skipping the need to sear the meat in advance (one less pot to clean!). Try to use panko breadcrumbs if you can as they brown much faster and will give your coating a little crunch. 

The past 12 weeks have seen quite a nice herb garden develop in my backyard as each weekly share adds another plant to the mix. At this point I have basil, parsley, thyme, mint, dill, rosemary, oregano, lavender, stevia, chives and tarragon planted, and in some cases growing quite large! I've been snipping small sprigs here and there, but for the most part I've avoided cutting too aggressively to ensure that the plants have time to get established. It seems that plan worked pretty well, and now its time to start harvesting!

Share Contents Used
Thyme (week 8)
Rosemary (week 7)
Sage (week 11)

1 lb pork tenderloin
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbs chopped fresh chives
1/2 tbs chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, herbs, garlic and oil along with a 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Set aside. Trim the tenderloin of any excess fat then season the tenderloin on all sides with salt and pepper before placing in a shallow baking dish or roasting pan. Using your hands, evenly cover the tenderloin with mustard and then top with the breadcrumb mixture, pressing lightly to ensure the mixture sticks to the mustard. Roast uncovered in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are browned and the internal temperature of the pork is at least 145 degrees. Use a meat thermometer to be sure and try not to let it go much higher as the temperature will continue to rise during the rest period. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Served up with some mashed sweet potatoes and a veggie stuffed zucchini (the recipe for which I will post separately as it more than deserves its own spotlight) to round out the plate.

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