[^that title is quite the mouthful, but any other description escapes me.]
It has come to my attention that my blog has turned into a bakery. I love bakeries. Bakeries are great places, full of fun smells, bright colors, and lots of flour.
But you can’t really live off of bakeries. Eating only bread and cookies doesn’t really get one very far. So, in an effort to change things up a bit, here’s a savory dish I discovered while perusing Epicurious, that fabulous anthology of recipes that has yet to fail me.
A common complaint from the familial peanut gallery lies in the abundance of chicken dishes that grace the kitchen table. We seem to eat only chicken with the occasional night of RED MEAT (ooooooo). Indeed, we are still a carnivorous household despite a lot of societal pressures to go vegetarian. When these grumbles arise, I often suggest pork…the “other white meat.” I’ve always liked pork; my family, however, never got on the hog wagon and it’s a battle to convince madre to purchase a tenderloin.
This go around, I seem to have worn down the ranks and upon pitching my recipe suggestion, the parents ran off to purchase fresh figs, a first for us, and a nice pork tenderloin for grilling. Something about the combination of sweet from the figs and honey to the savory from the goat cheese, pork, and aromatic rosemary must have piqued the interest of a few finicky Froths. This recipe is probably the easiest recipe around for summer as you just need a grill to make it a reality. Oil up the figs and meat, place on grill, cook, cut, drizzle with honey, and eat….rather like this.
One (1 to 1 1/4 pounds) pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fine kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 small ripe figs
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (I only had dried…oh well !)
Crank up the grill and get it very hot. For this, I enlisted my dad, as he is known as the grillmaster of the house. It’s also nice to shoo him outside every once in awhile…but shh, don’t tell him. Back in the kitchen, bush the tenderloin with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Bring out to the grill when ready.
Rinse the figs and pat dry. Pierce the figs through the middle with a metal skewer – do not peel. Lightly brush the figs with olive oil and season with a little coarse salt.
Place the pork tenderloin directly over the fire. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side (the center-cut pork loin filet for 5 to 7 minutes per side), turning a quarter turn at a time, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 140°F for medium and the meat is juicy and slightly pink in the center. (This is what the original recipe says – we cooked it longer). If you have a nice cut of meat and you know it is FRESH FRESH FRESH and from a happy hog, I’d say follow the directions and embrace a pinker meat.
At the same time, place the skewered figs over the fire, turning several times and cooking for about 5 to 6 minutes until they are heated through. When they’re caramelized and soft, remove the skewers from the heat and keep warm. I just poked them and when they were squishy and smelled like slightly burnt sugar, we placed them on a platter.
Let the pork rest for about 5 minutes, and then cut on the diagonal into 1- to 2-inch-thick slices. Unless you’re impatient…
To serve, alternate between pieces of pork and goat cheese, with the figs on the side. Drizzle a liberal amount of honey over the platter (believe me, you won’t regret this decision to be generous with this honeybee glory) and top with a few shakes of dried rosemary.
For dinner, we served it with quinoa and arugula salad. All the elements worked nicely together: the pork, fig, and goat cheese combination is sweet and is therefore nicely contrasted by the bitter and peppery arugula. Quinoa, as a side, adds texture and serves as a palate for the softer components of the dish. All in all, a fabulous meal.
Bon appétit !