Pork tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin with Date-Cilantro Relish

Pork tenderloin is a go-to for weeknight dinners — quick, lean, and versatile, and not a lot of leftovers (important when you’re cooking for 1 or 2 and get  bored easily).

Dates are something new for me, and after a few bites adjusting to the texture, this recipe won me over. My grocery store carries dates in bulk, allowing me to buy just the quantity I needed.

Serve the pork with green vegetables, and if you want a starch, try rice, potatoes, or polenta (sweet potatoes or winter squash will be overwhelmingly sweet).


Pork Tenderloin with Date-Cilantro Relish

From Bon Appetit

Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pork tenderloin (about 1½ lb.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup Medjool dates (about 4 oz.), cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus leaves for serving

Preheat oven to 425°. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 6–8 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and cook pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 140°, 10–15 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing; set aside pan drippings.

Toss dates, orange juice, reserved pan drippings, 3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Spoon relish over pork and top with cilantro leaves.


Marinated Pork Tenderloin

???????????????????????????????Pork tenderloin might be one of the most underrated proteins. It’s versatile, cooks quickly, and is relatively inexpensive.

Yet growing up, I don’t remember ever eating it — and my dad raised hogs. When I moved out on my own, I would see recipes for pork tenderloin, but get frustrated when I went to buy the meat. I’d never bought meat from a grocery store before — a topic for an entirely separate blog post — and the way tenderloins were packaged threw me.

A typical recipe calls for a 1 lb. tenderloin, but I could only ever find it in one of two ways: 1 lb. tenderloins pre-marinated or sealed in a “pork broth solution,” or huge packages of 3 or more pounds. Surely those big packages weren’t the right cut, were they?

It was only later that I realized the larger packages at standard grocery stores were actually multiple tenderloins packaged together. A couple years later, I moved to a neighborhood with a Trader Joe’s, which does sell plain 1 lb. tenderloins.

The bigger packages aren’t necessarily a bad thing. This recipe is easy to scale if you’re feeding a crowd. Or, make a second batch of marinade in a separate bag, and throw it into the freezer. Put the extra batch in the refrigerator the night before you want to serve it, and it will marinade as it thaws.

Avoid the versions packaged in a marinade or broth solution. It’s way more sodium than you  need, and not that great.

This recipe is best on the (outdoor) grill, but it works well in the oven, too. When I’m grilling, I like pairing it with whatever seasonal vegetables I can throw on the grill, maybe some sweet or fingerling potatoes, and cinnamon applesauce. If I’m indoors, I swap in steamed green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, or whatever else I have on hand.

Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Adapted from Cooking Light

Yield: 3-4 servings

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1 lb pork tenderloin

Preheat grill to medium-high, or preheat oven to 400°.

Remove pork from bag and discard marinade. Lightly season meat with salt and pepper.

If grilling, place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill for 20 minutes. If using the oven, roast for 35 minutes. Cook until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink). Let stand 10 minutes before slicing thinly.