Pork Tenderloin with Cilantro-Date Relish

by Food Hound on February 23, 2014

in Main Dishes, Meat, Sauces and Dressings

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I know some of you think I’m a genetic mutant freak of nature with the time I devote to food.

I don’t deny it, I do spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  But here is something you might not have considered: I do what I do not because I wake up with a strong desire to chop carrots and knead bread from sun up to sun down (those are the true genetic mutant freaks of nature)- I do it because that is what needs to happen to make the food I love.  I’m completely obsessed with the sport of eating, not necessarily a lover of all that prep work.  If I find a way to make cinnamon rolls that taste like my Almost-Famous Cinnamon Rolls minus all the kneading and rising and coating of self in flour, I will totally dive in.  But chances are that’s not going to happen, so I will happily do all that kneading and rising and coating of self in flour because they are sooooooo worth it.

Thus is the delicate balance of time and taste.  If I’m totally smitten with a food, I do what it takes to sit down at the beginning of our night (aka the minute the babe goes to sleep, muahahaha) with a plate or bowl of the object of my affection.  If that means I have spent all of nap time in the kitchen doing the prep work, well, that’s what it means.  It’s not drudgery for me, but if you think I would rather be mincing garlic than logging some serious online shopping/blog reading time with a fat cup of tea in my hand (or, totally more likely, folding laundry and mopping the floor… wait, mincing garlic might win out after all…) you’re mistaken.  My dream night is when taste far, far outweighs time… aka, when something gorgeous and tasty and utterly fabulous takes minimal time to prepare.

OH OH OH what a segue!!!!

Pork Tenderloin with Cilantro-Date Relish is one of the best meat dishes I have ever made, and when you think about how incredibly easy it is to make, it makes me mad that it has taken me 31 (sniffing 32 🙂 years to encounter it!  Let me tell you why it’s so awesome…

1. Cilantro.  2. Dates.  Uhhhhh, don’t those two ingredients rule the world??  3. Cilantro + dates + OJ + salty pan drippings mean sweet-savory nirvana, and if you know anything about me, you know I love all things sweet-savory AND that I want an apartment along the Seine in Paris so I can eat my sweet-savory food while gawking at the Parisian glitterati.  4. The pork is cooked using my favorite indoor method for cooking meat: searing on the stove, finishing in the oven.  5. Ultimately, it’s a meat + sauce combo.  Like chocolate and peanut butter, it’s one of my favorite combos.

There is no shortage of get-dinner-on-the-table-quickly meals on the internets, but there is a dearth of amazing, entertaining-quality quick meals that don’t involve chopping your ingredients at Iron Chef speed or an abundance of pasta.  Hellooooooo!  This is one of those meals.  If people still had their bosses over for dinner, this would be something to make.  In today’s terms, it’s something you can make after work for a swanky girls’ night in or any night you and your significant other feel like eating like celebrities (= every night).  Or something you make on the weekend when you’ve decided to have that afternoon cocktail but you’re such a lightweight (especially post-baby) that one cocktail means you’re tipsy, and you still want something super classy and tasty that will give you super classy and tasty leftovers the next day that is easy enough to put together when you’re tipsy.  Ummm, I totally have a friend who does that.  Her name is Kate and she has a food blog.

You’re welcome for your new favorite (quick/sexy/Top Chef-esque) way to feed your family AND your desire to consume as much cilantro/dates/sweet-savory relish as possible!!

{Other mega-simple main dish meals that inspire similarly superlative descriptions are Pecan-Crusted Skirt Steak, Grilled Skirt Steak with Garlic Butter, Olive Oil Poached Salmon with Indian Spices, any meat with Authentic ChimichurriRoasted Salmon with Lemon-Dill ButterSteak Teriyaki, Ricotta Omelet with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette, and Baked Eggs with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese.  Life gets better FAST when any of these are on the menu.}

Pork Tenderloin with Cilantro-Date Relish
From Bon Appetit
Serves: 4
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 2 lbs pork tenderloin (probably 2 tenderloins)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅔ cup Medjool dates (about 4 oz.), pitted and cut into small pieces
  • 2 T orange juice
  • 3 T chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Heat 1 T olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Liberally season pork on all sides 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°, 10–15 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing; set aside pan drippings.
  2. Toss dates, orange juice, reserved pan drippings, 3 T chopped cilantro, and remaining 2 T olive oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Spoon relish over pork and serve.
This is SO EASY as a weeknight meal, and can it get any swankier?? I made it even quicker by making the relish a few hours in advance, then adding the pan drippings at the end. OMG so amazing. I think also that if you wanted to make this for another meat or perhaps grilled meat, you could sub more olive oil and additional salt and pepper to make up for the missing pan juices. But pun-lease try this pork recipe as-is! SO SO GOOD!


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