Dinner Party Series: Oven Roasted Pork Tenderloin on a Toasted Couscous Salad

IMG_7321

As far as an easy breezy dinner party mains go, this recipe is most definitely on the easy-to-handle list. The vinaigrette for the vegetables and the chopped veggies themselves can be prepared the day before, the couscous takes only about 5 minutes of real-cooking time, and all you need to do with the tenderloin is marinade it and chug it in the oven. This dish is light, vibrant and versatile enough to dress it up for a nice dinner party, or serving it as a weeknight dinner in the summer. For the vegetarians out there, the toasted couscous can be served on its own or topped with grille portobello mushrooms or pan-seared tofu.

A year ago, I bumped into a very intriguing way of cooking pork tenderloins while I was surfing the net. I decided to test out this peculiar (and exceedingly precise) way of preparing pork tenderloin and it worked like a charm! So I will be sharing this method with you for the perfectly done oven-roasted pork.

Toasted Couscous Salad* 

Serves 4 as an entree OR Serves 8 as a small-plate pre-entree course

Prep time: 10 minutes  Cook time: ~10 minutes

Ingredients:

Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Couscous:

  • 4 Cups/ 900mL chicken broth
  • 2 cups couscous
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup rough chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/8 cup Scallions (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Olives (chopped, if using canned olives, go for the ones with the pits still in them for better taste)
  • 4 scallions, finely sliced
  • 1 hothouse cuumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 Cup Natural Yogurt
  • Honey (add to yogurt, to taste)

The Fun Part:

  1. For the vinaigrette: Combine the vinegar, honey, mustard and garlic in a large bowl. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil so it lightly emulsifies. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. For the couscous: Heat the chicken broth in a pot over medium-high heat until it boils, then turn off the heat. While the broth is heating, set another large pot over high heat and add the couscous. Allow the couscous to brown evenly by tossing and stirring it constantly. When it is done it will be lightly browned and fragrant. Remove the pan of couscous away from the heat and add the heated chicken broth to the couscous. (Careful!! The couscous and hot broth may splatter during this step!) Cover and allow to stand for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork, let sit with the lid off for about 3 minutes.                  Toast_couscous
  3. While the couscous is standing, drizzle some honey into the natural yogurt and mix well.
  4. Add the chopped vegetables to the vinaigrette and toss to coat everything evenly.                                     IMG_7199
  5. Fold in the couscous. Sprinkle with feta and top with a dollop of honey-sweetened natural yogurt. Enjoy!         IMG_7200

Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Serves 4 as Entree, Serves 8 as a small-plate pre-entree course

Inactive prep time: 8 hours  Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 Lbs Boneless Pork Tenderloin
  • Olive Oil (drizzle)

Dry Rub:

  • 1/2 Tbsp  Oregano
  • 1/2 Tbsp  Thyme
  • 1/2 Tbsp  Rosemary
  •    1 Tbsp  Garlic Powder
  •    2  Tbsp  Paprika
  •    1   Tsp   Cayenne Pepper (Powdered)
  • Kosher salt & Pepper (to taste)

The Fun Part:

  1. Mix the herbs and spices and rub it liberally on the pork tenderloin, place in non-reactive container and marinade for 8 hours or overnight.                                                                                                                     IMG_7275
  2. When the tenderloin is marinaded. Preheat the oven to 500-550F/260-288C.
  3. Spray or drizzle the pork tenderloin with olive oil, and place in an oiled baking tray.
  4. **IMPORTANT** This recipe relies on the residual heat of your oven to cook the tenderloin, if your oven is not insulated well, don’t use this recipe!
  5. **IMPORTANT** Make sure the pork tenderloin is exactly 1 lbs (+/- 20 grams).
  6. Bake the pork tenderloin on the bottom 1/3 of the oven for EXACTLY 5.5 minutes. ALTERNATIVELY: Weigh your pork tenderloin (be exact), and bake the tenderloin for 5.5 minutes for every pound.
  7. Turn off oven and DO NOT open the oven for 1 hr. (Don’t be tempted to peek, or the meat will not cook right!!) Allow the meat to rest (wrapped by the shiny side of an aluminum sheet) for 5-10minutes on the baking tray.
  8. Serve! (Pork should be very slightly pink in the middle, if you prefer a more well done pork, rest the tenderloin (wrapped in foil) for an additional 5-10 minutes.)                                                                                   IMG_7318

*The Toasted Couscous recipe is adapted from Guy Fieri’s version of his Toasted Couscous. The cooking method for the Pork Tenderloin is adapted from a Food.com recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/perfect-pork-tenderloin-63828

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