I think that the pig, in the words of Homer Simpson, is a “wonderful, magical animal.” What else could produce such variety as bacon, ham, and pork chops. Getting the best out of most cuts of pork requires lots of time; whether curing, smoking, or just a simple braise.
Unfortunately, most days I don’t have that kind of time (sadly, my employer seems to prefer it when I actually go to work during the day; who knew). So every once in awhile we buy a pork tenderloin. It’s not the most flavorful cut but it cooks quickly and doesn’t get that tough (for some reason, Angela really likes her meat tender).
Pork tenderloin (I always have to look twice at recipes and make sure I’m not mistaking pork loin for pork tenderloin) doesn’t stand well on its own. By that, I mean that it’s similar to something like a chicken breast: you don’t want just a chicken breast as it’s fairly bland; you need to add something to it. Because of this, I’m always looking for good pork tenderloin recipes.
This recipe seemed to work particularly well for the pork. The herbs add good flavor but don’t totally overpower the porkyness. The cornmeal works well as a binder and adds good texture. The only problem with the original was that I don’t own a grill (despite the near year-round grilling whether here in Southern California, I have no where to put a grill), so I had to adapt it to oven cooking.
I also ended up changing the herb mixture a bit as I didn’t have any fresh rosemary. I could’ve used dried but something about the recipe screams for fresh herbs to me. While it’s fall now, I think there’s something spring-like about an herb crusted meal (particularly if it were to actually be grilled).
Cornmeal Herb Pork Tenderloin
Adapted from Apartment Therapy
1 1-lbs pork tenderloin
1/2 cup Italian parsley
5 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
5 sage leaves
4 sprigs of tarragon, leaves only
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Combine the parsley, thyme, sage, tarragon, and garlic cloves in a food processor. Pulse to combine. In a bowl, mix together the herbs and the cornmeal. Slowly add 1 tbsp of the olive oil and mix to combine.
- Season the pork tenderloin with salt and pepper. Rub the cornmeal mixture over the pork tenderloin.
- Put the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, brown the tenderloin on three sides.
- After browned on three sides, turn the tenderloin to the fourth side and place in the oven. Cook until the tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 135°F, approximately 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
Serves 2 to 3.