herb marinated pork tenderloin

This past weekend one of my best friends came to visit us.  Aside from doing a tiny bit of shopping, we spent most of the weekend being lazy because she had come to town to take a test and afterwards was relishing in not having to study, and I, well, I was just doing what I normally do on lazy weekends, which largely involves a lot of movies on TV and reading and spending a bit of time in tinkering in the kitchen.

On Saturday morning we went to breakfast at this little cafe called Tiny Boxwoods where I had the most gigantic cinnamon roll I have ever seen in my life and a delicious croissant with honey butter.  Gerrit had amazing biscuits on his plate.  And the whole restaurant was so light and airy and had a relaxed French countryside feel to it that seems like it stuck with me for the rest of the day, making for an excellent Saturday.

Really breakfast has nothing to do with this recipe for pork tenderloin, but I just wanted to tell you about it anyway because we rarely go out to breakfast and it was such a fun treat.  So, on to the pork.  I love pork tenderloin.  It is so juicy and, well, tender, and is such a fantastic thing to serve to guests because it is one piece of meat that can serve lots of people.  A good part of it can also be done ahead, as half the work is making the marinade, and later you just have to cook it.

I think this marinade, from who else but Ina, is perfect.  It is light and citrusy with herb undertones.  It is easy to make.  Most of the ingredients are things I always have in my kitchen.  It can be paired with any number of side dishes, and is perfect to use the next day for sandwiches.  Not that there was any left over for that.

Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin
adapted from Ina Garten

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Wait Time: 3-8 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4-6

1 small lemon, zested
4 small lemons, juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons salt
2 (1 lb.) pork tenderloins
Salt
Pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. In a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and salt.  Add the pork tenderloin, seal the bag, and turn to coat the pork in marinade.  Marinate pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight (or all day).
2.  About an hour before cooking, remove pork from refrigerator to allow it to come to room temperature.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Remove the tenderloin from the marinade, discarding the bag containing the marinade.  Set pork on a plate and season with salt and pepper.
5. In a large, oven-proof saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sear tenderloin on all sides until golden brown, 5-10 minutes.
6. Remove tenderloin from saute pan and discard some the excess oil in the bottom of the pan.  Return tenderloin to pan, and place pan in the oven, cooking for 15-20 minutes, until meat thermometer reads 140 degrees when inserted into the thickest part.
7.  Transfer the tenderloin to a platter and cover with aluminum foil.  Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before cutting it into 1/2 inch thick slices.

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