If we were smart, we’d stop eating all our best meals in the evening.
If a dinner Danny has made up on the spot turns out particularly delicious? I run for the camera, trying to take enough photographs before the pork cools down too much for my taste. And what do I have to work with? Yellowy lights at night, the one above the kitchen stove blaring at the food, the CFLS dutifully shining their environmental light that looks nothing like the sun.
I can’t tell you how many incredible dishes we have eaten in the last few months that I haven’t even bothered to share with you. That yellowy light kills it every time.
But this one? This one was particularly juicy. And full of unexpected tastes. A melange of dried fruits — apricots; prunes; sour cherries — mingled with rosemary-garlic sausage. Already I’m intrigued by the unlikely combination, and how well they mix in the mouth. But stuff that into a pork tenderloin, sear it, roast it and coax all the flavors out of it? And then top it with a smoky tomato salsa, made fresh that day?
For that, I’ll use a lousy yellow-light photo.
You’ll just have to see this in its best light when you make it yourself.
Dried Fruit-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
1 pound pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon each kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1/2 pound rosemary-garlic sausage
1/4 cup mixed dried fruit
1 tablespoon fine-chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 large egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
Butterfly the pork tenderloin. (If you would like to see this demonstrated, go to this video.)
Put the unfurled tenderloin between large pieces of plastic wrap. Pound out the pork tenderloin until it is about 1/2-inch thick, evenly.
Season both sides of the pork tenderloin with 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Set aside.
Mix the sausage with the rest of the ingredients.
Season the sausage with the remaining salt and pepper.
Make a small taster. Fry up the taster in a small skillet in hot oil. Taste and see if you need more seasoning.
Put the sausage in the middle of the tenderloin, patting it down, leaving about 2 inches on all sides of the sausage. (If you put sausage over the entire tenderloin, it will spill out the sides during the cooking.)
Truss it up. (And again, refer to the video if you are confused about this.)
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Bring a large sauté pan to high heat. Pour in the oil. Put the tenderloin in the hot oil. Sear it on all sides about 4 to 5 minutes, or until it’s a lovely browned color.
Slide the pan into the hot oven and roast the tenderloin in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reached 160°.
Let it rest for 5 minutes on a plate. Remove the string. Slice it on the bias.
Here, we served the tenderloin with rice, black beans, and topped it with a smoked tomato salsa that Danny created that day. But really, you can do whatever you want here.)