Monday, January 17, 2005

Pan-Seared Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloins

This recipe is from Cook's Illustrated magazine. It is dead simple and absolutely delicious. I've been in the habit of oven roasting pork tenderloins but searing adds that extra flavor boost. I only cooked one tenderloin as a pound of meat is plenty for the four of us and didn't make a pan sauce (because I used the pan to saute some onions and peppers). I went ahead and put the recipe below for the pan sauce I would have chosen.

2 pork tenderloins, (12 - 16 ounces each), trimmed of fat and silver skin
1-1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 400°. Sprinkle tenderloins evenly with salt and pepper; rub seasoning into meat. Heat oil in 12" skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Place both tenderloins in skillet; cook until well browned, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Using tongs, rotate tenderloins 1/4 turn; cook until well browned, 45-60 seconds. Repeat until all sides are browned.

Transfer tenderloins to reimmed baking sheet and place in oven (reserve skillet if making pan sauce); roast until internal temperature registers 135-140 degrees on instand-read thermometer, 10-16 minutes. (Begin pan sauce, if making while meat roasts.)

Transfer tenderloins to cutting board and tent loosely with foil (continue with pan sauce if making); let rest until internal temperature registers 145-150 degrees, 8-10 minutes. Cut tenderloins crosswise into 1/2" thick slices, arrange on platter or individual plates, and spoon sauce (if using) over; serve immediately.

Garlicky Lime Sauce with Cilantro
(makes enough to sauce two tenderloins)

10 garlic cloves, peeled and grated to a fine paste on rasp-style grater (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons juice from 2 limes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
Table salt and ground black pepper

Immediately after placing pork in oven, mix garlic paste with water in small bowl. Add oil to still-hot skillet and swirl to coat; add garlic paste and cook with skillet's residual heat, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon, until sizzling subsides, about 2 minutes. Set skillet over low heat and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until garlic is sticky, 8-10 minutes; set skillet aside off heat.

While pork is resting, set skillet over medium heat; add pepper flakes and sugar to skillet and cook until sticky and sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add lime juice, cilantro, and chives; simmer to blend flavors, 1-2 minutes. Add any accumulated pork juices and simmer 1 minute longer. Off heat, whisk in butter, one piece at a time. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

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