We had dinner at a friend’s house a couple of months ago and I watched her stick a pork tenderloin into the oven, no seasonings, no marinade, nothing. Bruce and I were stunned that it was edible, let alone pretty good. Throughout dinner, I was contemplating what to do to make this a more memorable meal at home. So, next trip to Costco (the only place I feel I can shop with abandon these days), I bought some pork tenderloins for a (relative) song, and ran across this recipe I’d cut out from the Williams-Sonoma Catalogue several years ago, and never tried. It was absolutely delicious. I’ve made this several times since—people always seem to love it (seconds are regularly requested), and several have asked for the recipe, always a good sign. Any that you have, which aren’t chicken…please send our way.
2 pork tenderloins, each 12 oz., trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 T olive oil
1 T unsalted butter
3 fennel bulbs, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
1 shallot, sliced
6 T balsamic vinegar
1 T chopped fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season pork with salt and pepper. In a pan over medium-high heat, warm oil and melt butter. When hot, brown pork 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter. Add fennel and shallot; saute, stirring, until tender and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. (NOTE: Sometimes I add sliced apples at this point.) Add 2 tablespoons vinegar and cook, stirring, until liquid is nearly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; stir in half the sage. Arrange pork over fennel in the pan, sprinkle with remaining sage and transfer to the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 130 degrees for medium-rare to medium, 12 to 15 minutes, or until done to your liking. Transfer pork to cutting board; let stand 5 minutes before carving. Transfer fennel to warmed platter. Set pan over medium-high heat. Add broth and 4 tablespoons vinegar, bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, 4 to 6 minutes. Slice pork into 1/2-inch-thick medallions. Arrange pork over fennel; drizzle with sauce. Serve immediately.