Pork Tenderloin in the Style of Porchetta
The perfect little roast special enough for company, without much work. In Tuscany, you find porchetta at many celebrations, made using the loin and belly. That makes much too much for a small dinner at home, but this recipe approximates it, on a small scale. I love the flavor of the pork and herbs roasted together. I’ve also used a whole boneless chicken breast with the skin on. Omit the pancetta if you like and cook in the same manner just cook until it is 160F, while it rests it will continue to cook to 165.
Serves 2-3, depending on the sides.
2 teaspoons fennel pollen*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons rosemary
Zest of 1/4 of a lemon, using a microplane
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pork tenderloin, about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds
5-6 slices pancetta
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
1. Trim the silver skin and any excess fat from the tenderloin. Butterfly the tenderloin: make a center slit the length of the tenderloin going about halfway through and stopping about 1-inch from the narrow end of the tenderloin. Open the tenderloin and flatten it. Then make 2 more horizontal slits from the center toward the sides and open them out to flatten the meat further. Cover the meat with waxed paper and pound with a mallet to even it out—it should be about one-half-inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.
2. On a chopping board place the minced garlic, thyme, rosemary, and lemon zest finely chop. Add the 1/2 teaspoon salt and the fennel and mix well, using your knife to mash the herbs, salt and garlic together. It should be fairly fine. Place in a small bowl and mix in 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil.
3. Rub the herb and garlic mixture onto the cut side of the tenderloin. Then tightly roll the meat from one side (like a jelly roll).
4. Wrap the pancetta slices around the rolled tenderloin, side by side, until the tenderloin is cloaked with pancetta.
5. Tie the tenderloin in half-inch intervals with the butchers twine. You will need about 4-feet of twine.
6. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat that can go from the stove to the oven. When hot, sear the tenderloin all the way around until the pancetta is lightly browned. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until the thermometer reads 140°F. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice into half-inch rounds and serve.
*Fennel Pollen- is different from the seeds. It is milder than the seeds and more herbaceous. It can be found in hi-end grocery stores and on line.
Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie