~ The finished meat on a serving platter. The inside was still a perfect medium, juicy and tender while the sauce made for a silky decadent blanket ~

I have a love hate relationship with pork tenderloin.  It took me a while to admit it to myself, but now I’m confident enough to broadcast it publically.  You see, I’m drawn in by the tender, quickly cooked tenderloin.  However, not unlike Filet Mignon, there is no fat to these pork counterparts and thus, virtually zero flavor.  Typically, I season and add barbecue sauce of some sort and throw them on the grill. Tasty enough, but hardly worthy of appearing on these pages.  So when I saw an interesting recipe courtesy of my friend Rolando, I knew I had to give it a go. Rolando’s blog is very nice. His updates can be a bit sporadic, but I really enjoy his back stories and his recipes.

Double Cooked Pork Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 pats salted butter
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup light cream
1 long sprig fresh rosemary
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh chopped sage for garnish

~ This is the tenderloin browning in the butter and olive oil with the rosemary alongside to infuse some flavor into the meat ~

Begin by patting the meat dry with a paper towel and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.  In a skillet large enough to hold the meat, melt the butter and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted, add the meat and the rosemary sprig and brown the meat on all sides.  Total cooking time should be about 5 minutes and the meat will still be rather raw inside.  Remove the meat to a cutting board and pull the skillet off the heat.  Allow the meat to rest for 10-15 minutes before proceeding.

~ This is the meat immediately after being placed back into the skillet. Note how raw it is on the inside. The beauty of this recipe is that if you cook it through a bit too much while browning it, you can just shorten this part of the cooking process. The only downside will perhaps a slightly less flavorful sauce ~

Slice the meat crosswise into slices about 1″ thick and return to the skillet over medium heat.  Add a drizzle of olive oil, a splash or two of white wine and cook the meat for about 2 minutes per side, turning once.  They should be medium at this point. Remove to a warm platter and prepare the sauce.

~ The resting meat;  here you can see how thick the slices are.  They will be medium to medium rare inside ~

Lower the flame to medium low.  Add the mustard to the pan along with the light cream and whisk together to form a sauce.  Test for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.  The sauce will come together quickly but if you want a richer more potent sauce, let it reduce a bit longer. My friend Rolando used more mustard than I did.  I do not like the flavor of mustard in cooking. I find it dominates everything else. However, I do like that “lift” that Dijon imparts and by reducing the mustard to the amount I used, the sauce tasted of “meat” with a silky sauce that was lifted by the acidity in the mustard. It worked out very well.

~ This is the finished sauce. You can see how thick it is in the upper left where the pan is visible. This doesn’t look like much, but there was sauce left over. We put the remainder in a ramekin and passed it at the table ~

Finally, spoon the sauce over the meat and serve immediately.  Garnish with the fresh chopped sage.  Although this dish is perhaps more French Provincial in its origins,  we chose to open a rustic 2015 Chianti Classico and the pairing worked well.  The acidity in the wine cut through the creamy sauce and held up to the zip from the mustard. We also opened a Rosé of Sangiovese that also paired nicely  one other option I think would be a Cote du Rhône or a Barbera.

One final note for those worried about calories…  1/4 cup of light cream is 120 calories.  This recipe serves 3 people so you’re talking about a whopping 40 calories. Relax, enjoy it!  I don’t think this dish would turn out as well if you substituted milk for the cream.

~ The finished dish. This is two tenderloins as we were 5 people for dinner that night; so just double the recipe. Salute! ~

Give this a try and let me know how it goes in the comments section.

Buon appetito!

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