Martha Stewart Living (September 2008)
Pork tenderloin has got to be the biggest and best cheat there is. Salt, pepper, pan, stovetop, olive oil, sear, flip, sear, then throw in the oven for a half hour.
It's one of the easiest, no-fuss dishes in our repertoire. In the fall and winter, we make it all the time.
You can get fancier if you want, of course. A pork loin can be soy-glazed, herb-crusted, jerked or barbecued, turned into appetizers, sandwiches, entrees. We're not sure how you'd incorporate it into a dessert, but we're sure it can be done.
Mostly, though, we keep our pork loin really simple: salt and pepper, maybe a handful of rosemary or thyme or garlic if we have it. But that's usually about it.
This recipe, though, has a great twist that's super simple but really takes the pork to a whole new place.
Truth be told, we didn't always have our pork tenderloin method down so well. Back in our younger, more novice days -- you know, like two years ago -- we would simply roast the loin in a pan, maybe glazing it with a sauce or something. The pork often turned out too dry, too overcooked.
Much like our barbecued chicken, we'd been doing it all wrong.
We learned, from a recipe in an issue of Everyday Food, that we'd been missing the biggest part of what makes a pork tenderloin so great -- searing it.
Searing the loin in an oven-safe pan -- browning it on all sides and then throwing it in the oven -- makes a world of difference. You get that golden, deliciously flavorful crispiness on the outside, while the meat inside stays moist.
But the biggest, most important step is the resting: Allow your pork to sit for 8-10 minutes after you've taken it out of the oven. You'll end up with even more great flavor and perfectly moist meat.
This recipe for Chili-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin is really fantastic. The addition of the chili and the crushed garlic adds maybe two minutes to our stripped-down salt-and-pepper staple. But it gives the pork a delicious new flavor and a lovely, mild heat.
We'll definitely be going back to this one many times in the future.
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill pan
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
* 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine oil, garlic, and chili powder in a large, shallow dish. Add pork, and turn to coat evenly with chili mixture. Sprinkle pork with sesame seeds, and press seeds into meat. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, and brush with oil. Add pork, and cook until browned and grill marks appear, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
3. Transfer pan to oven. Roast pork to desired doneness, 17 to 18 minutes for medium. Let stand for at least 5 minutes, then cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve with pan juices.