Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pork Tenderloin with Onion Marmalade and Fennel Salad


My brother-in-law, Nate, makes the best onion marmalade.  It's idiot-proof, because the longer you let it cook, the better it tastes. You simply can't make a mistake with this.

Here, I've paired it with a simple pork tenderloin and a salad that's pure October - thinly sliced fennel and whatever autumn fruit floats your boat.  The crunch of the salad, the gaminess of the pork, and the sweetness of the onions hits every taste bud.  I even made extra toasted pecans, set them aside, and put them on pumpkin ice cream for dessert. (Yep, this is a full-blown autumn obsession, now.)

Pork tenderloin's elegance belies its simplicity. This dinner looks fancy... but takes less than an hour and uses a pot, a pan, and a tray. That's it.

Serving size: 4
Prep Time: 45 minutes

1.5 lb Pork Tenderloin (premarinated with olive oil, rosemary & garlic)
 1 tsp olive oil
Aluminum foil

Onion Marmalade
1 large (or 2 medium) Yellow Onion
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced Garlic
1/3 c maple syrup
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
2 Rosemary sprigs
5 Sage leaves, chopped
1 tsp butter
Salt & Pepper

Fennel Salad
1 Fennel bulb
1 Apple
1 Pear
1/2 c chopped Pecans
4 c Arugula, pre-washed
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c white wine vinegar (can sub sherry or cider vinegar)
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp honey
1 tsp minced Garlic
Salt & Pepper
Grated Parmesan (if desired)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While the oven preheats, put a smidge of butter in a saute pan on medium-high heat and add pecans.  Toss periodically to make sure they don't burn, and salt, as desired. Once the kitchen smells toasty, pour the nuts in a salad bowl and set aside.
Julienne the onions
Julienne the onions. I use a mandolin for this chore - it's a 10 dollar investment and it gives you nice uniform thin slices - but a knife will work just as well.  Heat the olive oil and garlic in the pot, and once the garlic starts to brown, add the onions and toss well to coat. Return to medium-high heat and stir periodically.

Seared Pork tenderloin, about to hit the oven
Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in your saute pan. Curl the tenderloin into the pan and sear on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.  Place the tenderloin on aluminum foil on a cookie sheet, and cover the pork so the foil is slightly tented - this will keep the meat moist during the cooking process.  Place the cookie sheet into your oven and plan to bake for 20 minutes per pound - if you've bought a 1.5 lb piece of tenderloin, set your timer for 30 minutes.

Mmmm... onions
Add the syrup, balsamic, sage, rosemary, salt and pepper to the translucent onions and stir well.  Turn heat to medium while you roast your pork and prep your salad. The onions will be quite happy to cook quietly until you're ready to serve.

Fennel, Pear, Apple. Kitchen still life.
Toss your 4 cups of arugula in the salad bowl with the pecans; thinly slice the fennel, apple and pear (with a mandolin or knife) and add to the bowl.  In a small container whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, salt and pepper, adjusting the seasonings to taste.  Don't toss the salad with the dressing until you're ready to serve.

Pork AFTER the oven
After 30 minutes, remove the pork from the oven and place the pork in the foil on a cutting board. Let it rest for 10 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer the internal temperature should be about 170 degrees; I did not, so I crossed my fingers that it had enough time in the oven... and if it had looked too pink I would have sauteed the pork slices until done.

Stir the teaspoon of butter into the onion mixture and remove from heat. Slice the tenderloin and arrange on a plate around a scoop of onion marinade.  Toss the salad with the dressing and grate parmesan over the top. Serve and enjoy!

Nutritional info:  Coming soon!

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