Serving a whole roasted pork tenderloin (also known as pork fillet) makes for an impressive dinner, yet it is a cut that requires short preparation and cooking time, so it is one of my preferred options when it comes to easy entertaining. However, as it is a lean cut, in too many cases it ends up as a dry and unappetizing dish, so some attention is needed while cooking. The idea is to keep it moist and pinkish, while not ending up with rare pork.
One of my “tricks” to prevent this from happening is the use of compound butter as a topping. The butter not only helps keeping the cut moist, it also adds lots of flavor while roasting. Another “trick” is to roast the cut on high temperature for a fairly short time, after browning it stove-top before placing in the oven. A third “trick” is to add some juicy fruits to the pot while roasting. The somewhat anemic pork flavor pairs wonderfully well with sweet-acidic fruits, and they also keep it moist at the same time. In the dish here, I also used a bit of dark rum and brown sugar, to help with the caramelization of the cut. The result is a juicy, aromatic and very tasty dish. Try it and enjoy.
* I’ve used “touch of sea salt” pork tenderloin from Hatfield farms, which also also contains a small amount of turbinado sugar. Therefore, I decreased the amounts of salt and sugar in the seasoning. If you use a tenderloin without such additions, adjust the seasoning accordingly.
* Alaea, Hawaiian red salt, is an unrefined sea salt that has been mixed with a red alae volcanic clay. It’s great for roasting and adds an earthy flavor to the dish. It is available in specialty stores or online. If you can’t find it, it can be replaced with any other coarse sea salt.
* The amount of compound butter in the recipe is double the amount needed for this dish. The rest can be kept for up to a month. It can be used in other pork or chicken dishes.
* The peaches I’ve used here were frozen, but now that the season has started, I will definitely make this dish again with fresh ones. Other juicy fruits can be used instead.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Chilling time for the butter: 1 hour
Cooking time: about 25 minutes
For the compound butter:
1 stick (115 grams) butter, soft
2 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Alaea Hawaiian salt (see notes)
½ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix
2 Tbs dried shallots
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp mustard powder
For the pork:
1.375 lbs (624 grams) pork tenderloin (see notes)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp four pepper mix
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs dark rum
2 Tbs oil
½ the amount of above compound butter
½ bag (0.5 lbs/225 grams) frozen peaches, thawed
1. The butter: place all the ingredients in a small pan. Mix over medium heat until the butter melts. Pour into a small airtight container, and mix occasionally until the butter solidifies . Place in the fridge for an hour, and up to a month.
2. Preheat the oven to 400F (205C). With a sharp knife, trim off the silver skin and fat layer from the tenderloin. Sprinkle the salt and pepper all over. Mix the sugar and rum in a small bowl. Cut half of the compound butter into four thick slices.
3. Heat the oil in a medium shallow pot over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned tenderloin and sear until golden from all sides, about 5 minutes. Pour the rum-sugar mix on top and add two of the compound butter slices on top. Scatter the peaches around and place in the oven.
4. Roast for 7 minutes. Take out of the oven and mix the peaches with the juices in the pot. Turn the tenderloin to the other side and place the rest of the compound butter on top. Place back in the oven and roast for 10-12 minutes longer. (If checking with a meat thermometer, it should register an internal temperature of 150F (66C)).
5. Place the tenderloin in the center of a warm serving plate, and add the peaches around. Discard half of the fat from the pan. Mix the rest with the remaining bits in the pot and spoon over the tenderloin. Let sit in a warm place for 5-10 minutes before cutting.