Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rosemary-Cured Pork Tenderloin, Green Beans Almondine, and Pan-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

 (Disclaimer I'm adding halfway through the writing of this blog: I have here and henceforth used many parenthetical clauses to just douse this post in honesty and overwhelming disclosure.)

In general, I tend to get absorbed with the main dish and forget to even make a side. But that was not the case last night (mainly because Andy chose the sides and he is far more detail-oriented than I could ever be.) And these sides were perfect, complementing flavors and all that and just elating my belly (as much as a very, very fully belly can be light and buoyant.)

To begin with, I brined my pork tenderloin. This should be done twelve-hours ahead of time, but I did not have twelve waiting hours in my arsenal, so I contented myself to seven--not an issue with a fairly small tenderloin, but with larger cuts you might want to plan ahead better than I did.

For a 2lb pork tenderloin, you should use one gallon of water, 1 cup of salt, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Since I was using a 1.5-lb cut, I used 3 quarts of water, 3/4 cup of salt, and 3/8 cup of sugar. Math! Hey! (punch fist in air enthusiastically--it's direly important to the recipe.)

I then added a tablespoon of dried rosemary to the bowl (note: I placed my tenderloin and brine in a large bowl) and covered it. I shook the covered bowl and placed it in the refrigerator. Then I went about my daily life (I watched Toddlers & Tiaras.)

An hour or so before dinner, I preheated the oven to 500. Then I removed the pork from the brine and patted it dry. For seasoning, I rubbed the tenderloin with brown sugar, dark corn syrup, fresh rosemary, Hungarian paprika, and 1 chopped shallot. I placed the pork in the roasting pan and topped it with four whole cloves of garlic.

 For the perfect pork roast, the pork needs to be cooked 5 1/2 minutes per pound (so in my case, it was 7 minutes and 45 seconds. This is my excuse for doing number puzzles all the time at work. I need the math skills to properly feed myself, ya heard?) Once the time has passed, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN, SO HELP YOU. Just keep it nice and tightly closed and let the pork finish cooking itself for an hour. It works wonders!

I waited about thirty minutes before I started in on the side dishes. I rinsed and trimmed the green beans, then boiled them in a medium pot of salted water for about 6 minutes, after which Andy transferred them to a bowl of iced water to cool down. For the potatoes, I placed them in a medium saucepan, covered the potatoes with water, and then brought the water to a boil and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Andy removed the green beans from the iced water and patted them dry. Then he melted 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan and added the slivered almonds. Once the almonds had turned golden (3 minutes with frequent stirring), he added the remaining three chopped shallots and stirred them until they turned translucent. Then he added the dried beans, tossed the mixture to coat, and let them cook and heat through for five minutes.

Mmmm, look what this guy can do.
Once the potatoes had boiled, I rinsed them under cold water and then sliced each fingerling in half. I seasoned the halves with salt and pepper. Then I heated a medium skillet to medium-high heat and added the bacon. After a couple of minutes, I introduced the sliced onion. While the bacon cooked, I made sure to press down on it often with my spatula in order to better render the fat.

After the bacon had crisped and the onions turned translucent, I added the garlic and rosemary and cooked them for one minute.

Meanwhile, the pork had come out, but I just wrapped it on foil (garlic included) and let it hold its horses (or whatever pork would hold--wild boars?? Like the ones that terrorized the family in Old Yeller?) on the counter.

I then added the fingerling potatoes to the pan and roasted them for three minutes, then flipped them and let them sizzle for another 2 and a half minutes.

Then I sliced the pork, plated everything, took my pictures, and poured two glasses (or coffee mugs, whatever) of Pinot Noir. Bon appetit!

Pork Tenderloin
1.5-lb pork tenderloin
3 qts. water
3/4 cup salt
3/8 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
4 whole garlic cloves

Green Beans Almondine (adapted from Saveur)
1 lb. green beans
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 shallots, chopped

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes (adapted from Food Network)
1 lb. fingerling potatoes
Salt and pepper
3 strips hickory-smoked bacon, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

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