Mondays with Martha - Pork Tenderloin with Kale Salad
Updated: Mar 26
- Cooking My Way Through This Month's Martha Stewart Magazine -
Volume: January/February 2020
My Rating: 7 out of 10
Mood Music: Keep Your Head To The Sky - Earth, Wind, & Fire
I was flipping through this month’s magazine to look for recipes (side note: it also has really cute Valentine’s Day gift box ideas) and decided to start off with one of the easier recipes since Charlie and I are coming off of a weekend of organizing our garage. We landed on this recipe because pork tenderloin is typically pretty easy to prepare, I love lemony kale salads, and I had some sweet potatoes I needed to use up.
Mine vs. Martha's:
I started by washing all of the produce, peeling and chopping the sweet potatoes, and slicing the kale. I bought Lacinato kale, which is the same as Tuscan kale. Some kale varieties are more difficult to chew than others, but this one has a nice texture. Still, just to be safe, I cut off the spine of each kale leaf from about halfway down to make it easier/more enjoyable to eat.
I then threw the sweet potatoes in the oven and prepared the salad. I used Parmesan instead of pecorino cheese because that is what we had, and it worked out great. I prepared the pork by trimming off the fat with kitchen scissors (so much easier than a knife for things like this), coating it with avocado oil, which has a higher smoke point (meaning: doesn’t burn as fast) than olive oil and very generously shaking sea salt and pepper on all sides before putting it on a medium-hot frying pan. I turned it every few minutes, as instructed, until all sides showed a light golden brown. Then I moved the pan into the 400-degree oven (the potatoes were long done by now), and cooked until the internal temperature said 145 F… make sure you use a good meat thermometer! I use this one from Amazon.
Ok, here is the part where I did the dumb thing that I knew I was going to do...ugh, I'm STILL mad about it...
I took the frying pan out of the oven and set it on the stove. I read the next instruction: let the pork rest so it stops cooking, and thought to myself, ok, I’ll just lift up the pan and slide the meat off onto this cutting board, and then I grabbed the 400 degree frying pan handle with my bare hand! *sad face* Needless to say, Charlie was the one who eventually sliced the pork and plated our dinner. Meanwhile, I alternated between holding various ice packs and submerging my hand in cold water for the next 4 hours.
But back to my food critique: the sweet potatoes were amazing… I wish that I made extra to eat on the side. The salad was exactly what I like: simple, has cheese in it, a lemony homemade vinaigrette that tastes refreshing while still having tons of favor... what’s not to like?? Oh right, I also, perhaps in a subconscious effort to get my husband to like this salad, completely forgot to include the currants (he questions all things raison-shaped), so I cannot say what impact those would have had on the salad. I’ll have to make it again on my own time and include those currants I bought for this that are now feeling neglected in my fridge. The pork was really tender and fairly flavorful even though it was only simply seasoned. Next time I think I will jazz it up a bit by adding a balsamic reduction glaze or some apple sauce to give it some more flavor. My biggest complaint was that the portions were not what I was expecting when I divided it into the four recommended servings. I wish that there was twice as much salad (and if you compare the photos between my plate and the magazine’s plate, I think it was a little misleading as to how much you will make). So, if I double the salad recipe and add a sauce to the pork tenderloin, this recipe could easily be a 10 out of 10. If you try it out, let me know what you think!
1 bunch Tuscan kale, stems removed, sliced into ribbons (about 7 cups)
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup dried currants
1 ounce finely grated pecorino (1/4 cup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup quinoa, well rinsed
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), tied
Step 1 Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss kale with 4 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, currants, and pecorino; season with salt and pepper and set aside. On a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast, flipping once, until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.
Step 2 In a pot, bring quinoa, 3/4 cup water, and a pinch of salt to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender, 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork; transfer to a plate to cool.
Step 3 Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high. Generously season pork with salt and pepper; sear, turning occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer to oven and roast until a thermometer reads 145°F, 8 to 10 minutes.
Step 4 Transfer pork to a cutting board; let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Stir potatoes and quinoa into kale salad and serve with pork.