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Rosemary-Sage Pork Tenderloin with Pancetta and Fried Capers

Rosemary-Sage Pork Tenderloin with Pancetta and Fried Capers
Saturated with the flavors of rosemary and sage, these pork tenderloins are a quick interpretation of the popular porchetta found throughout Tuscany and are served at room temperature. Leftover pork can be used in sandwiches or salads.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
  • 1 Tbs. fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pork tenderloins, trimmed, about 1 1/2 lb.
      total
  • 4 garlic cloves, quartered lengthwise
  • 4 thin slices pancetta

For the fried capers:

  • 1/4 cup capers, drained and patted dry
  • 1 Tbs. fine cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, sage, fennel seeds, kosher salt and pepper and mix well. Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, make 8 crosswise incisions 1/2 inch deep evenly spaced along the length of each tenderloin. Insert a garlic quarter into each incision. Rub the rosemary-sage mixture over the tenderloins. Wrap 2 slices of pancetta around each of the tenderloins in a spiral pattern. Place the tenderloins, side by side, in a baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 2 days.

Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour before roasting. Preheat an oven to 375°F.

Transfer the tenderloins to a small roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 150°F, about 30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Remove the pancetta slices and finely chop them. Set aside. (The pork can be prepared up to this point 1 day in advance. If doing so, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate along with the chopped pancetta until 30 minutes before serving.)

To fry the capers, in a bowl, toss the capers with the cornmeal until lightly coated. In a nonstick fry pan over high heat, warm the olive oil. When it is hot, drop in the capers and fry until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Lightly sprinkle the capers with sea salt.

To serve, thinly slice the pork and arrange on a serving platter. Scatter the fried capers and pancetta over the pork slices. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Outdoor Entertaining, by George Dolese (Free Press, 2006).