Pork tenderloin pairs really well with fruit. The mildness of the pork can pretty much take on any flavor combo, and fruit brings out a subtle sweetness. This pork tenderloin is seared on the stovetop, then finished in the oven. This allows you to get a nice char on the outside, but keeps it nice and moist throughout. It's a lean cut of meat, so it's definitely prone to being dry and overcooked, but the sear-roast method works really well here (incidentally, this is also a great way to cook chicken breasts).
After the pork is cooked, as it rests you make a quick strawberry-balsamic pan sauce with the drippings and browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Browned bits = frond = flavor. It's a very simple and versatile method, and the sear-roast-pan sauce M.O. is what I do most often when I'm cooking pork tenderloin.
The sauce is a simple combination of strawberries, strawberry preserves, and balsamic vinegar. A little shallot, garlic, and crushed red pepper help balance out the sweetness. Half of the strawberries are pan-roasted, and they kind of "melt" into the sauce. The remaining ones are added at the end, to keep some bright freshness and texture to the sauce. We loved this dinner, and while it seems impressive and fancy, it was so quick and easy. I roasted some asparagus alongside the pork, and served a baguette on the side. It was a lovely meal, and one that I'll definitely keep in my repertoire for easy spring and summer entertaining.
Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Strawberry Sauce
sauce adapted from Southern Living, April 2013
- 2 pork tenderloins, trimmed of excess fat
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup strawberry preserves
- 1 cup quartered fresh strawberries
- pinch of red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 450. Generously season the pork with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the Herbes de Provence.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork. Brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Transfer to the oven and bake until an instant-read thermometer reads 140, about 8-12 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer the pork to a cutting board, and cover it loosely with foil. Allow the pork to rest at least 5-10 minutes.
Return the now-empty skillet to the stovetop see to medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and sauté the shallots and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add the vinegar, strawberry preserves, and half the strawberries, and bring to a boil. Boil about 3-4 minutes, until the vinegar has reduced and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining strawberries and the red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, slice the pork tenderloin and top with the balsamic-strawberry sauce.