Pork tenderloin is flavorful, tender and easy to prepare. It accommodates different flavor profiles and side dishes. It transforms into lovely, deceptively fancy-looking medallions. We’re going to make a seared, savory tenderloin!
First of all, acquire some amount of pork tenderloin. Tenderloins come in various sizes, of course – most likely you’ll find them in the pound-and-a-quarter range; a tenderloin of this size will provide a round of porky deliciousness to three reasonably hungry adults if you pair it with some other stuff, especially if that stuff is edible and not a fistful of dryer lint. Then again, it will leave no leftovers for those adults, which might be a problem, since it’s going to taste very good. What I am trying to say here is that you might want two tenderloins if you’re feeding more than two people. Decide for yourself.
If you can, do yourself a favor and see about finding tenderloin from pigs that were raised humanely and fed well. If the ethical, humane reasons to do this don’t move you, please do trust that the difference in flavor certainly will. The industrial meat-production methods that we all kinda know are monstrously cruel to the animals we eat also happen to be ruinous to the flavor and quality of the meat we get from them. It’s worth paying a few extra bucks to get pork from an animal that had a decent life; even if you don’t particularly care how the animal lived, surely you can be moved to care how it tastes.
Just a word of warning! You’re going to be searing your pig. Searing a piece of meat can be scary when you’ve never really done it before. All the smoke and the terrifying sizzling sounds and the sense that the meat could go from raw to burnt in a really small period of time – it’s intimidating! The temptation to skip that step, and crank out a sad grey finished product instead, is real, but you must resist. You must sear the ever-loving mess out of your meat! This is your birthright as a human, as well as the key to delicious meat.
Let’s stop rambling and get cooking our herb encrusted pork tenderloin!
Serves 3 | Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 30 min
- 1-1.5 pounds pork tenderloin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves (use a couple sprigs for garnish, too)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil for searing
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon freshly minced parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
In separate bowl mix dry ingredients such as garlic powder, oregano, cumin, coriander, thyme and salt. Stir your seasoning until all the ingredients are well combined. This will be used as a rub to ensure the pork is well seasoned throughout. Sprinkle the rub over the tenderloin with a dry hand, then rub the pork with the seasoning over both sides of the meat, pressing gently so the seasoning adheres well to the tenderloin. Whenever you’re done futzing around with the rub, it’s time to sear it!
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, pour a glug of olive oil into the pan and sear the absolute bejesus out of the entire outer surface of your pork tenderloin. Start by giving whichever side first hits the pan a good, solid, uninterrupted minute of searing before you so much as touch it; it might produce a large volume of terrifying smoke, but that’s OK. Continue to cook your tenderloin for about 10 minutes, searing each side using tongs to turn the meat. In the last minute of cooking, add the minced garlic and saute, stirring, for 1 minute. If you add it too soon it will burn.
A word on searing: The mistake people make is being big wusses about their searing temperature. Real searing temperatures seem wrong and dangerous, seem scary, and so these folks “sear” their tenderloin over medium-ish heat, thinking this will prevent ruinous disaster. But, really all it does is slow the formation of a sexy seared crust, so that the interior of the meat cooks while it waits for the exterior to get where it needs to be. Believe it or not, scary high heat is your friend when you’re trying to sear a big hunk of meat: It hustles that exterior surface to a nice crispy brown long before the interior has a chance to do more than warm up marginally.
That is to say: Be brave. Sear the hell out of your pork tenderloin. You can do it. I believe in you!
Transfer your pig to a roasting pan and bake for 20 minutes.
Slice and serve! Speaking of slicing, after eight or 10 minutes, move the tenderloin to a cutting board and slice it crosswise, on a slight diagonal, into medallions maybe three quarters of an inch thick. There. That’s it. You roasted a pork tenderloin. Now you can serve it.
Oops! Oh wait! Wrong picture. Here is what your finished product should look like.