As much as I want to be thrown full into grilling season I just can’t get into it while the weather is cold and rainy. So, today I’m making a pork tenderloin with the taste of the grill but it’s all prepared in the kitchen. The good news is, if we do get a dose of beautiful weather and you feel like firing up the grill you can make this just as easily outside. I’ve incorporated one of my favorite pantry items into this dish. Dates! My grandmother used to blend dates to a paste and spread it between two oatmeal raisin cookies. She was a genius. I put two in my smoothie in the morning as a sweetener. They’re terrific stuffed with a smoked almond and wrapped in bacon. What isn’t great wrapped in bacon? Here I’m making a Pork Tenderloin with Date and Cilantro Relish. When I first tried this recipe I had never thought to put dates with meat (other than bacon, of course). This relish adds a unique flavor and texture that we were hooked on after the first bite.
Make sure you remove the pit from each date before chopping. You can buy them already pitted but they tend to be a bit dried out and not as meaty as whole dates.
PORK TENDERLOIN WITH DATE AND CILANTRO RELISH
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup Medjool dates (about 4 ounces), cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus leaves for serving
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
Season pork with salt and pepper and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, 6–8 minutes.
Transfer skillet to oven and cook pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 140°F, 10–15 minutes.
Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing; set aside pan drippings.
Toss dates, orange juice, reserved pan drippings, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Spoon relish over pork and top with cilantro leaves.
DO AHEAD: Relish (without pan drippings) can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Add pan drippings just before serving.
I served the tenderloin with salt rubbed roasted potatoes. It’s a little twist on baked potato. Just rub with olive oil and kosher salt and roast at 375° until they are fork tender. You know I had to get the bacon into this meal, some how! Baked or roasted potatoes are great with sour cream, fresh chives and BACON.