Balsamic Cherry Pork Tenderloin with Crispy Asparagus
Balsamic vinegar adds a heady hit of sweet-and-sour flavor to the cherries and keeps this sauce on the savory side. Pork tenderloin has a thin end that cooks faster than the rest of the roast; to keep it from overcooking, simply tuck it under so that the tenderloin is the same thickness throughout.
1¼ cups frozen sour cherries, thawed but not drained; add juices to bowl along with cherries (TIP:Or substitute with fresh pitted cherries.)
4 tsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp ground black
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 slice whole-grain crusty bread (about 1½ oz), torn into pieces
1/4 cup blanched unsalted slivered almonds
1 tbsp packed chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus additional sprigs for garnish, optional
2 large eggs
1 lb thick asparagus spears, trimmed
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line half of a large rimmed baking sheet with enough foil to leave a 2-inch overhang on sides. Bring edges of foil up, then fold over to create a 1-inch-tall border around half of sheet. (NOTE: You can also use a smaller baking sheet and create foil border around the entire tray.)
In a medium bowl, toss cherries with vinegar. Spoon into center of foil. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp salt and allspice; rub over pork. Arrange pork over top of cherry mixture, tucking in thin end of tenderloin. Bake until just a hint of pink remains in pork and temperature reaches 145°F when tested in thickest part, 25 to 30 minutes. (TIP: If cherry juices begin to burn, fold sides of foil over to partially enclose pork.)
Meanwhile, in a small food processor, pulse bread, almonds, thyme and remaining 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper into coarse crumbs. Line a second large baking sheet with foil. In a large shallow bowl, beat eggs. Sprinkle 2 tbsp crumb mixture on a plate. Working 1 at a time, dip asparagus into egg, then dredge in crumb mixture, turning to coat lightly. When crumbs become too wet, wipe off plate and add 2 more tbsp of crumbs. (NOTE: Wet crumbs will not stick to asparagus.) Arrange in a single layer on prepared sheet. In last 5 minutes of pork baking time, add asparagus to oven.
Remove pork from oven and let pork rest on sheet for 5 minutes; keep asparagus in oven for 5 minutes more (for a total of10 minutes
Cooking pork tenderloin in a moist heat makes it fork-tender. Additionally, the bulgur, which replaces the more traditional rice in this revamped risotto, lends a slightly nutty flavor that complements earthy mushrooms.
Wrapping the scallops and vegetables in a “purse” of parchment paper means they steam together in the fragrant Asian-inspired sauce. To keep the butcher’s twine from burning in the oven, soak it in water for about 15 minutes before tying the bundles. Serve with brown rice or quinoa.
Skip the trip to your neighborhood trattoria this week and try our über-rich and indulgent pasta instead. Mascarpone and Parmesan cheeses join forces to make it creamy, while mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and chives give it fresh, bright flavor.