Adapted from How to Cook Meat by John Willoughby and Chris Schlesinger.
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: About 25 min
Total time: 40 min
Yield: Serves 4 to 5
Just as with beef, the tenderloin is the most tender cut of pork. It is also very low in fat about the same per serving as a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Since it is relatively small, it is usually sold whole in fact, these days you often see two of these mini-roasts sold together in a cryovacked package. The tenderloin has a little less pork flavor than other fattier cuts, but it is convenient, readily available, tasty and easy to cook. We like it a lot.
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 12- to 14-ounce pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup red wine
For the Power Pack:
1/3 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a large ovenproof sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown, about 11 to 13 minutes. Remove the onions to a bowl and keep them warm.
3. Dry the tenderloins with paper towels and sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan, return to medium-high heat, and heat until hot but not smoking. (Note: If your pan is not large enough to comfortably hold the 3 tenderloins, use 2 smaller sauté pans.) Add the tenderloins and sear well on all sides, about 12 minutes total. When the tenderloins are well browned, place them in the preheated oven. Roast, brushing generously with the glaze after about 8 minutes, until they are done to your liking, about 10 to 14 minutes for medium-well done. To check for doneness, you can use a thermometer and cook them to an internal temperature of 150 degrees, or you can nick, peek, and cheat: Cut into the thickest part of the meat and take a peek; it should be slightly less done than you like it. Remove the pork from the oven, brush it once more with the molasses mixture, cover it loosely with foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, add the balsamic vinegar to the onion and toss to combine thoroughly. In a small bowl, combine the dates, sage, garlic, and olive oil and mix well.
5. Slice the pork into slices about 1 inch thick. Place the onions on individual serving plates or a platter, top with the sliced pork, and sprinkle with the power pack.
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