Welcome to the first edition of Recipe-Phile. This is my attempt at not only documenting the food I make but also sharing it with my family and friends. (It will be less about recipes and more about ideas on how to prepare good food.) Please feel free to pass this along to whomever you think will find it useful and if they'd like to be added to my mailing list tell them to drop me a line. If you do not wish to receive this, drop a line and I'll take you off my list.
This week's recipe was inspired by my friend Jon (who shares the same level of respect for food that I have) and recently married friends Heather and Jim. On my last visit to San Francisco, Jon and I prepared a great meal of Baby Back Ribs with a spice rub. As a wedding gift, I gave Heather and Jim a dinner party as a present. I did a variation for Heather and Jim on what Jon and I prepared. The following is the tasty result.
Roast Pork Tenderloin with Italian Dry Spice Rub
- 1/4 cup dry rosemary
- 1/4 cup dry thyme
- 1/4 cup dry oregano
- 1/4 cup dry tarragon
(Note - Be creative here. If you do not love this combination of dry spices then try another combination. Just keep in mind that for 2 pounds of pork tenderloin you will need about a cup of dry spices.)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper (about 8-10 turns of the pepper mill)
- 1 tbsp of Fleur de Sel*
- 2 lbs pork tenderloin
- 1 cup dry vermouth
In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients and toss with your hands until thoroughly mixed. You do not have to use your hands but I prefer it because I can feel when everything has thoroughly mixed and if you love the smell of garlic and spices, the aroma this mixture leaves on your hands is absolutely incredible. Thoroughly coat the tenderloin(s) with the spice rub. Set aside 2-4 hours (or more) in refrigerator.
When you are ready to cook the loins, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and prepare the grill. Living in New York, I unfortunately do not have the luxury of a gas or charcoal grill so I use an electric grill in my kitchen**. You can also purchase grill pans at your local kitchen supply store. If you have a charcoal grill however run out and get yourself some Lazzari Charcoal***, it will add a wonderful flavor to your food and great aroma throughout your neighborhood. (Thanks Jon for the introduction to some of the best charcoal on earth.) Once the grill is ready, place the loins on your well cleaned and oiled grill and lightly brown each of the sides being careful not to burn the spice rub. This should take, in total, about 10 minutes. The best way to avoid burning on a charcoal grill is to cook things indirectly. Put the charcoal to the sides of the grill and put the meat in the middle so it is not over the heat.
Transfer the loins to the roasting pan and finish them at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes. 10 minutes into cooking add the dry vermouth. It should be cooked to an internal temp of 150, slightly pink on the inside. Take it out and let it sit for 15 more minutes****. After 15 minutes, slice on an angle (about 1/2 inch thick for each piece) and serve with roasted potatoes an arugula or green salad and a bottle of Estancia 1999 Pinot Noir*****.
Hope you enjoy it. Please let me know what you think.
* I used to be a HUGE proponent of Kosher salt but my new favorite is Fleur de Sel. Fleur de Sel is an all natural sea salt from Brittany France. Unprocessed, unrefined, unadulterated. This salt is unlike any you've ever tasted, more like a condiment than a spice, it highlights food flavors and is never too salty, in fact it is almost impossible to overdo it - but please do not test this unproven theory. You can purchase Fleur de Sel at your local gourmet food shop or online.
*** Once you use this charcoal you will never go back to traditional briquettes. Lazzari Mesquite Charcoal imparts a uniquely delicious flavor to grilled foods. This is something you must try at least once in your cooking life.
**** The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the pork industry recommend pork be cooked to a temperature of 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit or medium to well done. I actually cook my pork to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit before taking it out of the oven and letting it sit for fifteen minutes. There is a good reason for this so please do not fret. Remember that the pork will continue to cook after you take it out of the oven. It may look a little pink when you cut into it but after it rests for a few minutes and begins to cool the cooking process will complete itself and your pork will not be overdone.
***** Wine Spectator ranks this 99 Pinot at 86 (here's an explanation of their ratings). The $16 price tag is affordable and this wine can be found at most liquor stores.