Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pork Tenderloin with Carrot Romesco

For Christmas this year my mom gave me a subscription to Cook's Illustrated, one of the magazines published by America's Test Kitchen right here in Boston. I found it to be a great source for new recipes that have literally been chef tested and approved! Since the issues come every other month, I treated myself to a Bon Appetit subscription after receiving an offer I couldn't refuse. Sometimes I wonder why I bother to dog-ear the pages of cooking magazines when every page ends up folded. I should really invest in a binder with those clear page dividers so I can tear apart the magazines and quickly reference different recipe types. I'm sure my roommate would also appreciate fewer piles of magazines lying around as well.

Last week's salmon and chick-pea recipe came from Bon Appetit and I've bookmarked a bunch more savory and healthy items to come! Last week's adventure was this pork tenderloin recipe with roasted carrots and romesco. From my amateur understanding, romesco is like pesto in Spain. This took a little longer than the salmon recipe and was completed in stages. I've made the grown up decision that baby carrots are weird (seriously, they are not naturally shaped and they're mini, it's like mini corn, where does that come from???) and I should take the extra five minutes to peel and chop regular carrots into sticks myself.

A little pine nut goes a long way
The recipe calls for a number of pan changes but we know how I like to not do dishes so I just used the same baking sheet for roasting the pine nuts, carrots and pork. This is another one of those things that can be done in phases. We toast the pine nuts while preparing the carrots, greens and pork by seasoning with the desired spices. Once the pine nuts are ready, the carrots are roasted at a higher temperature while the pork is browned in a skillet or frying pan.

I love the color of these veggies
Hopefully the timing works out perfectly and the carrots are finished just as you are done browning the pork. For this magic to happen, give the carrots a head start, they're dense little buggers. Set the carrots aside on a dish or plate for future use. Transfer the tenderloin to the baking sheet and place in the oven. Use the garlic, pine nuts and some of the carrots to make the romesco. Spices are added to make it a little hotter but if you prefer milder dishes, add less red pepper flakes. Though they are but small, they are mighty. Also, if you're not a garlic fan, add a little less of the clove because it does get garlicy!

Mix it all together!
To assemble the dish, place the greens and carrots on a plate with a smear (or pile) of the romesco. Once the tenderloin is cooked (about 10-20 minutes), carefully slice into silver dollar pieces and place around the sauce. Immediately consume together. Getting a perfect bite of all the components can't be beat!

A wonderful spread


  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 lb large carrots, peeled and halved
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil (in total, not all at once)
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 large pork tenderloin (1 1/2 lb)
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (again divided)
  • 2 cups spicy greens (ie: watercress)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Toast the pine nuts on a baking sheet for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Remove the pine nuts from the oven and increase the heat to 450.
  3. Toss carrots with 1 Tbsp. and salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast until softened, 15-20 minutes.
  4. While the carrots cook, heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in a skillet and brown the tenderloin. Turn the tenderloin periodically to brown both sides. 
  5. Once the carrots are done, place the tenderloin on the baking sheet and roast until a meat thermometer registers 145 or is no longer pink in the middle (8-10 minutes).
  6. Allow the tenderloin to cool while you make the romesco. Combine the pine nuts, garlic and remaining olive oil in a food processor.
  7. Once a paste consistency is achieved, add red pepper flakes, a fourth of the carrots, 1 Tbsp. of vinegar, and 1 Tbsp. of water. Pulse until combined. You can add more water if needed.
  8. Toss the greens with carrots and 1 Tbsp. of vinegar. Add salt and pepper as desired.
  9. Serve with the romesco and sliced tenderloin.

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