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February 10, 2007

Broiled Pork Tenderloin with Mustard and Fennel

This is a good quick recipe for when you feel like something savory and meaty. It's also relatively healthy, since the pork tenderloin is a very lean cut.

The recipe is adapted from a recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything for pork tenderloin rubbed with a mixture of mustard and curry powder. The original recipe is also delicious. The technique of broiling in a preheated cast iron skillet is also Bittman's, from a recent New York Times article on broiling. (The Times has already banished the article to their archive, so I won't link.)

I served this with a salad made from thinly sliced raw fennel, thin slices of Meyer lemon (peel and all), and thick slices of peeled blood orange, dressed with more Meyer lemon juice, olive oil, and lots of freshly-ground black pepper.

The Ingredients

The Steps

  1. Put a medium to large sized oven-proof skillet on a rack about 3 inches from the broiler, and preheat the broiler. (If you don't have a suitable skillet, you can probably skip this step and just use a broiler pan as you normally would.)
  2. Bash the fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle a bit, or put them on a cutting board and roughly chop. (You're not trying to pulverize them. They're too tough for that. You just want to bruise them a bit so they give up their aromatic oils.)
  3. In a small bowl, combine mustard, fennel seeds, and vinegar.
  4. Pat the pork dry, if necessary, season it generously with salt and pepper, and then rub the mustard mixture all over it.
  5. Carefully remove your hot skillet from under the broiler, and put the tenderloin in it. (To fit a pork tenderloin in my 10 inch. cast iron skillet, I had to tuck a bit of the thin end of the tenderloin under itself.)
  6. Slide the skillet back under the broiler, and broil for about 8 minutes. Flip the tenderloin over, and broil until the pork is done. (See below.)
  7. Remove meat from the oven, and let it rest for about 10 minutes before carving into approx. half inch thick slices.
  8. Serves 2-3.

    Bittman recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. (The temperature will rise during resting to 155.) This leaves the pork slightly pink in the middle. I overshot somewhat, and cooked the pork to 160, and it was still perfectly tasty.

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February 04, 2007

Farmers' Market Haul - 2/4/2007

The farmers' market was not nearly as dismal as I'd expected it to be after hearing so much about the recent freezes that have affected farmers in California. It certainly wasn't as exciting as the farmers' markets at the height of summer, but there was a pretty good selection of your basic lettuces, root vegetables and other produce.

There was even some citrus fruit, though it didn't all look very pretty. My usual fruit vendor (Lujan farms) had some very sad-looking tangerines. Fortunately, they put out samples, and though the tangerines looked sad, they tasted very good. As I was picking out my tangerines, a little old Japanese lady came by, tasted, and announced, "They don't look good, but they are good. Just like people. We don't look good, but we are good!" She was still tasting the tangerines and announcing their goodness to all and sundry when I left.

My usual vegetable stand had a display of vegetables that looked like small turnips. They were pale green on the outside (roughly the color of wasabi paste), and white shot through with deep pink on the inside. "What is that?" I asked the farmer. "A turnip?" He shrugged, cut off a wedge, peeled it, and handed it to me to taste. It was a radish, with a very sweet, not peppery flavor. I bought some. I later found out that they're called watermelon radishes. They're very pretty.

I rounded out my haul with some carrots, onions, and walnuts. Not bad for a February market at all.

Posted by spaceling at 06:35 PM | TrackBack