Sunday 15 July 2012

July 15, 2012 - Mustard and Garlic Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Hello! Yeesh, it's been a while hasn't it? Well I'm glad to report a new blog entry and with good cause. I picked up a couple of pork tenderloins from my butcher shop today. When I say "my" I mean the one that I frequent, of course. It's The Meat Department at 207 Danforth Avenue in Toronto. They have such great (and funny) staff there, not to mention their wide variety of meat, sauces, spices, pastas, olives, pickles, and more. Hopefully by providing this plug they won't mind me bugging them all the time (I joke).

Anyway, back to the tenderloins. I'd never tried this before and it had been on my mind lately. I wanted to do a mustard-crusted pork dish. Some time ago, at St Lawrence Market, I had picked up a jar of Kozlik's Triple Crunch au Rye Triple Sec. Kozlik's is a Canadian company that produces many, many different varieties of all natural mustards. This particular product stands out on its own because instead of a creamy mustard sauce it's whole, crunchy mustard seeds in a brine of vinegar, whiskey, honey, herbs, and spices. Perfect for making a crust for meat!

I wasn't sure how it would turn out so I kind of "winged it". I didn't prepare a recipe with exact amounts but it's one of those processes that comes together as you go along anyway. I prepared the coating with mostly the mustard seed triple sec, three garlic cloves minced finely, some breadcrumbs, dried thyme, and lots of coarsely ground pepper. I mixed everything into a kind of grainy paste and just patted it all along the pork tenderloins until they were evenly coated.

I've always found that apples and onions do amazing things together in the oven. So I chopped two Gala apples, one medium yellow onion and scattered those around the tenderloins on a lightly oiled baking tray. I went to a sophisticated English-style pub for my birthday dinner this year and my friend had ordered pork tenderloin. It was served with Brussels sprouts and jus with cheesy cauliflowers on the side. The memory of pork served with cauliflower kind of stuck with me so I added that to the roasting pan as well. Cauliflower ended up being a great addition because it roasts so nicely but it doesn't have the kind of flavour that would take away any attention from the apples and onions. After that, all I really needed was some sprigs of fresh thyme and a few cloves here and there for aroma.

So there you have it. Mustard and garlic crusted pork tenderloin roasted with apples, onion, cauliflower, thyme, and cloves. What a flavour combination! You get warm, succulent pork encased in a crispy, savoury crust delivering heat that rises clean and quickly to the nose and opens all your senses to the sweet yet earthy flavours of the roasted apple, onion, herb, and the fragrant aroma of cloves. Some fresh thyme leaves scattered over the finished product add not only colour but another herbaceous note to the palate.

If your mouth isn't watering yet, imagine this flavour profile with chicken or tilapia instead. If that didn't work, then you're probably a vegetarian. 

Stay fed and (you guessed it) be happy!


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