Monday, January 14, 2013

Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

This is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe that I love. I only changed the oven temp/cooking time, pork loin sizes, swapped honey for sugar, and I added a couple of important prep tips. I usually make mashed potatoes as a side to soak up the last bit of sauce. Makes great leftovers to take to work the next day, too.

Roasted Garlic
2 medium size heads garlic
pinch of kosher salt
sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil; if you only have light-weight, use 2 sheets to protect the smaller cloves from burning

Pork Loin
2 small pork loins 1.5 to 2 lbs each, room temperature
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Roasted garlic, see below
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 c balsamic vinegar (don't use a cheap one, it's the star of the meal. I use Fini)
3/4 c EVOO
3/4 tsp raw local honey
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 TB water

Preheat the oven to 400*F
Cut the bulbs of garlic in half horizontally and put cut side up on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle each with EVOO and a sprinkle of salt. Fold the foil up around the garlic and seal tightly with a double fold across the top and sides. Put it on a cookie sheet - I use the mini baking sheet from the toaster oven - on the center rack and roast about an hour, till it's all golden and soft. Cool slightly before removing from the foil.

Using a boning knife if you have one, cut the silverskin off the tenderloins. It looks just like its name, like a whitish-silvery skin. It will not tenderize under any circumstances, and in my opinion, detracts from the whole dining experience. It's worth taking the extra couple of minutes. Season the loins generously with salt and pepper. Put the loins in a heavy bottomed roasting pan and put in the oven  about 30 minutes after the garlic went in. Or, you can roast the garlic in advance if you prefer, as I do. Roast the pork loins about 25 minutes until an instant-read thermometer registers 140-145*F. Do not over-roast, it'll continue cooking after you take it out! Tent it with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes. While the roast is resting, finish the vinaigrette.

Hold the garlic head by the outside paper skins and squeeze the garlic cloves out of the head, working from the bottom center each time, into a blender (or food processor if you don't have one.) Add the parsley and balsamic vinegar, and pulse till it's all blended. Slowly pour the EVOO into the blender/fp with the machine running, then add the honey, salt, pepper and water and blend until homogenized.

Spoon the vinaigrette over slices of pork loin and put the extra vinaigrette in a creamer or liquid measuring cup on the table, because I guarantee you everyone always wants more, LOL.

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