For whatever reason, unless you're talking about bacon, I'm not a huge fan of pork. It's not that I don't like it, but whenever someone says, "Hey, let's have pork!" I'm less than enthusiastic.
(Noted after the fact: I was talking to my cousin, Frank, about not eating pork, and he was all, "What about ham? Bacon? BBQ?" And I had to concede that when I say "pork," I mean more along the lines of chops and loins.)
Because of that, this recipe was my first experience cooking pork. And it was wonderful. I think that if I just made the rest of my meals for the rest of my life out of this cookbook, I'd be happy. It's flavorful and fragrant and just really, really good.
It took me a long time to make this because I didn't have toothpicks or twine to hold the thing together while it was cooking. Also, the original recipe includes a fig (instead of pear) compote, but I didn't think that figs are even in season at the moment, and there were none at Trader Joe's, so it became a pear compote. And it worked!
Rosemary-Shallot Pork Tenderloin with Pear CompoteServes 2-3
1 shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for the pan
Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. pork tenderloin (I used one that was pre-seasoned with garlic and peppercorns)
5 pears, stems removed, diced
1/4 cup balsalmic vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a baking dish and set aside
Combine shallot, garlic, oilve oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Set aside.
Using a sharp knife, butterfly the tenderloin by making a horizontal slice lengthwise through the tenderloin almost all the way to the other side. Open the meat like a book. Cover with plastic wrap and use a meat mallet, rolling pin, or small cast iron skillet to pound the pork so it's about 1/2 inch thick.
Pour shallot-garlic mixture over one lengthwise side of the pork and roll up, securing with toothpicks or cooking twine.
Roast in oven for 22-28 minutes or until pork is cooked through. (145°F to 160°F, depending on your personal level of paranoia.)
While the pork cooks, combine pears, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper to taste in a small pot over medium to medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to a thick jamlike consistence. Turn off heat.
To serve, slice pork into several slices and top with a few spoonfuls of compote.