Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Fennel Seed and Bread Crumb Crust
These tenderloins are deliciously crusty and easily carved into medallions for a festive fall dinner. Serve them on a platter with sautéed rainbow chard and roasted sweet potato wedges. Take care not to overcook the tenderloins.
- 2 pork tenderloins, each 10 to 12 oz., silverskin removed and trimmed of excess fat
- 2 tsp. white vinegar
- 1 Tbs. coarsely crushed fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 cup fine dried bread crumbs
Rub each pork tenderloin with 1 tsp. of the vinegar, then place in a shallow baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together the fennel seeds, pepper, oregano, thyme and salt. Rub each tenderloin all over with half of the seasoning mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Remove the tenderloins from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Place a rack on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a small fry pan over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until softened but not brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and bread crumbs, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until the crumbs are toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
Transfer the bread crumb mixture to a plate and break up any clumps with a fork. Spread in an even layer. Roll each tenderloin in the mixture, pressing to help it adhere firmly all around.
Carefully transfer the tenderloins to the rack-linked baking sheet. Roast until the crust is crisp and brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a tenderloin registers 145°F, about 25 minutes. Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut crosswise into thick slices and serve immediately. Serves 4.
A note from the butcher: Pork tenderloin can be compared to filet mignon—it is the most tender of all pork cuts. It is much leaner than beef, however. For example, 3 oz. of pork tenderloin have 120 calories and 3 grams of fat, but the same amount of beef tenderloin has 175 calories and 8.1 grams of fat.
– Phil Lucas, The Meat Shop, Phoenix, AZ
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The Cook and The Butcher, by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, Inc., 2011).