Pork tenderloin is a cut of meat that is easy to prepare, and can be served both for company or just for a typical midweek dinner. It is low in fat, similar in fat content to a skinless chicken breast. The best cut is one that is less than 2 lbs and you can approximate about 6-8 ounces per person to figure out how much you need to feed the amount of people you are serving. The best thing about the way I prepare this dish, is that you don’t have to stand over a stove and cook while your guests are in the living room. You just pop it into the oven and have a glass of wine !
To start, trim the silverskin from the pork with a knife. If you are not familiar with what pork tenderloin looks like in the meat aisle, this photo will also give you a good idea of how to spot it in store.
Next, prepare the marinade in a bowl. I don’t normally follow recipes and measure everything by sight. For the marinade
I use olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar (1/3 part vinegar to 2/3 parts oil) and a tablespoon of grain or dijon mustard. You should have enough to coat an entire tenderloin. I also add in seasoning such as salt, pepper, garlic powder and anything else you like to use on meat or chicken. It’s very important to use the salt in the marinade as the salt is what helps tenderize the meat. Whisk all of these ingredients together, place the tenderloin in a large ziploc bag, and pour in the marinade. Ideally you want to marinade for an hour or two, or leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
Once you are ready to cook, pre-heat oven to 350-400 and pop the whole tenderloin in for 45 minutes. Once done, you can test the temperature with a meat thermometer to make sure it is at least 145 degrees. IMPORTANT – place the tenderloin on a cutting board and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting. When you slice it, it should look something like this.
I tossed a green salad with my favorite greens – wild organic rocket (aka arugula). I love the pepperiness of the greens with the sweetness of peaches. Peaches are only available a bit longer so enjoy them while they are around. Of course, you can prepare any salad you like to pair with this dish.
I had made a very easy acorn squash the night before and thought the nutty sweetness of the squash would pair well with the pork.
To make acorn squash, simply wash the exterior, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Cook in the microwave for 8 minutes and then scoop out cooked squash and mix with butter (or olive oil), brown sugar and cinnamon to taste. My kids love the acorn squash as well ! Here is a picture of an acorn squash in case you are not familiar with it and wouldn’t recognize it in the store.
Finally, I plated the sliced pork, acorn squash and green salad and voila ! My husband was really impressed with this as a midweek dinner and he said the squash paired with the pork reminded him of Thanksgiving.