MMMM… Pork, “the other white meat”. This is my go to pork recipe. It is so simple, and low maintenance and it turns out perfect every time! I use this for fancy dinners, casual get-togethers and as sandwiches on the buffet table at our annual Christmas party.
The stars of the show: fresh rosemary & thyme, lemon, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, Dijon mustard and of course the pork!
We planted a little garden for the first time this year and the herbs have come in nicely! Before I started growing herbs, my go to store for fresh herbs was Central Market. I find their assortment to be consistently the freshest and most diverse. You certainly can use fresh herbs from any grocery store, I just recommend you check through the boxes to get the one that is the freshest and dried herbs would work too in a pinch. If you go the dried route, make sure you roll them around in between your fingers to bring out their aromatics and breathe a little life back into them!
I start the marinade with the herbs and lemons. They are the most work in the whole process so I like to get them done first!
The best way to strip herbs is to hold onto the softer of the two ends with one hand and you pull down the stem against the grain (meaning the leaves are facing up and you are pulling down) with your other hand. Then you go back and pick the leaves off the softer part of the stem. It certainly won’t hurt anything if you get some of the stem in the pile. In fact, I do quite often with thyme, but I try to minimize the stems as much as possible. When chopping herbs you want to use a sharp knife. The force of the chop will depend on the herbs you are using. Rosemary and thyme are fairly sturdy and they can take the weight, especially the rosemary. Aside from the fact that you are chopping the herbs smaller, the other benefit to chopping herbs, even a rough chop, is that you open the herbs up and bring all of their yummy flavor, oils and aromas to the surface so you can get the most out of them.
You will want to use a fine zester so the lemon zest is not to big. My biggest recommendation on zesting is that you don’t press too hard when you are running the lemon down the grater. You literally just want the lemon peel, not the white pithy part as that is very bitter. I zest down, away from me and I twist the lemon as after each stroke so I am only zesting a single area one time.
Once I have zested all the way around the lemon, I roll it on the counter top with a little force to get the juices flowing. From there it’s a slice and a squeeze!
Make sure to check for seeds in the juice before you pour it into the bag.
The last steps in the marinade are to combine the rest of the ingredients into a sturdy gallon resealable bag, add the pork, squeeze out the air and seal the bag. You will want to lay the bag flat in a Pyrex dish to catch any potential leaks (this may or may not have happened to me more than once…) and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight. I always marinate the pork overnight as I think it infuses the most flavor into the pork and makes it very tender. I will typically flip the bag about halfway through the marinating process to ensure all sides are evenly coated and soaking.
To cook you will start off by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade to a plate or cutting board. Discard the marinade but leave the herbs that are clinging to the meat. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large OVEN-PROOF sauté pan over medium-high heat. Oven-proof means that the skillet can cook in the oven and it has no rubber or plastic on the handles or the skillet itself. **Just a side bar here… Speaking from experience, make sure when you grab the skillet to remove from the oven, you use an oven mitt! The handle will be VERY HOT!!
The pan should be very hot so the meat sizzles as soon as it hits it. Place pork in the pan seasoned side down. Season the face up side of the pork and sear on all sides until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. If the meat is not searing, turning brown and crusting up then there is too much liquid in the pan. Drain some off and continue to sear meat. Place the sauté pan in the oven and roast the tenderloins for 10-15 minutes or until the meat registers 137 degrees at the thickest part. Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Rest meat for 10-15 minutes. Carve in 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices. You should get between 12 and 15 slices per tenderloin. The thickest part of the tenderloin will be pink and the thinnest part will be well done. Season with more salt and pepper if needed and serve warm, or at room temperature with the juices that collect in the platter. I always serve mine at room temperature.
See below for the printable recipe. I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe as much as we do!