I often find that the Mies van der Rohe maxim “less is more” rings as true for cooking as it does for architecture—especially when choosing a menu for a weeknight meal. This minimalist approach is the foundation for Mark Bittman’s series in the New York Times “Style” section, which is the source of today’s recipe.
But this belief is also at the heart of much Italian cooking, where the emphasis is more on the quality of prima materia (primary ingredients) than on culinary technique. I remember how my mother or aunt would always search for the freshest of vegetables, the best cut of meat, the most recently caught fish. Perhaps that’s why they would flatter or even sometimes flirt with the greengrocer, the butcher, and the fish monger.
This post is one of my go-to recipes for a weeknight supper; it can be made in less than 30 minutes and with a heritage pork loin yields a tasty dish. I did vary from the original recipe adding some fresh rosemary to the pan while browning the roast and substituting chopped sage for the parsley leaves as garnish.
For a vegetable side, I prepared some asparagus roasted with olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano.
1 boneless pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter, extra virgin olive oil, or a combination (I used a combination.)
1/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, lemon juice or Calvados, optional (I opted for the mustard.)
Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish, optional (I used fresh sage.)
1. Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. Put a large skillet over medium-high heat; a minute later add 2 tablespoons butter and/or oil. When butter foam subsides or oil dimples, add meat (curve it into skillet if necessary).
Brown it well on all sides, for a total of 4 to 6 minutes. Turn off heat, remove meat from pan, and let it sit on a board.
When skillet has cooled a bit, proceed.
2. Cut meat into inch-thick slices. Once again turn heat to medium-high, add remaining butter and/or oil and, when it’s hot, add pork slices to pan.
3. Brown on each side, about 2 or 3 minutes each. Turn heat to low and remove meat to a warm platter.
4. Add 1/2 cup water to pan, turn heat to high, and cook, stirring and scraping, for a minute. Lower heat slightly, add cream and cook until slightly thickened.
5. Stir in mustard, lemon juice or Calvados, if you’re using them, then taste and adjust seasoning. Serve meat with sauce spooned on top, garnished, if you like, with parsley.
Take your time with sauce. I like my sauce a little thicker so I cooked it a tad longer. If you prefer a thinner sauce, reduce it a bit less.
Wine Pairing: Rhone Rose; Syrah