Pork tenderloin is beloved by chefs all over North America with good reason. It's extremely lean, very tasty, and easy to cook with. You can grill or roast it whole or sauté sliced medallions to make a quick and satisfying dinner any time of year. Be careful not to overcook it, as pork tenderloin has so little internal fat it needs to retain all the moisture it can during cooking. Here's a recipe for Green Olive-stuffed Pork Tenderloin from my friend Bruce Aidells's brilliant treatise on pork, Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork: A Guide to Buying, Storing, and Cooking the World's Favorite Meat. Bruce says he was inspired to create this dish by a stuffed duck recipe his chef-restaurateur wife Nancy Oakes (Boulevard in San Francisco) learned from cookbook author Patricia Wells. So in this case success has many mothers and one father.
Green Olive-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
- 2 pork tenderloins (3/4 to 1 1/4 pounds each)
- 2/3 cup olives, preferably French picholine, or other mild-brined green olives
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 450°F
Lay the tenderloins parallel to each other with the thin end of one next to the thick end of the other (so that you end up with a roast that is even thick from end to end).
Sprinkle the tenderloins all over with the thyme, salt, and pepper.
Heat a heavy oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Place the tenderloins in the pan and brown on all sides for about 3 to 5 minutes. Put the pan into the oven and roast. After 15 minutes, begin checking the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer, checking every five minutes, until the pork registers 140° to 145°F. When done, remove the tenderloins from the skillet to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
Remove the twine from the roast, cut the tenderloins into 1-inch-thick slices, and serve.