(KERI) This one goes out to the pig lovers in my life. You good people who dream of snouts and tails and all of the deliciousness in between. The folk who don’t laugh when a recipe calls for pork butt, and the foodies who smear pork fat on a piece of white bread and think they’ve died and gone to hog heaven. This recipe, I give to thee.
Let me stop right here and create a gasp. Get ready, this is hard to take: My husband does not like pork. No pig, no oink for this Russian. We don’t know when and why it happened (I assure you it was not a bad result of a cooking experiment by yours truly), but over time, he has developed an instant gag reflex to the mere whiff of bacon. Gasp! I told you it was unbelievable. So, we look at him like a two-headed panda and hope one day he’ll be cured (I really did just write that). And for now, his disdain for the almighty porker just means more piggie parts for Marina and me.
A little piece of pig can provide the perfect pick-me-up to an otherwise two-syllable-nice salad, vegetable, dessert, you name it (and you know it). Best yet, a juicy piece of swine can be the centerpiece, the main attraction, the menu item that will pack a house. Yes, pig creates demand and people will do crazy things for a front-row seat to feast on this divine creature.
A few years back, during my Wednesday morning peruse of the Food section of my home-town rag, I happened upon this sweet little recipe for a pork tenderloin that seemed too good to be true. Coffee roasted pork tenderloin sliced and placed on toasted baguette, then dolloped with cherry preserves.
Whaaaatt??? You know what else? My husband eats this. And I think he actually likes it.
There is nothing to this showstopper: Grind up coffee beans and spices,
rub it into the pork,
cook it and voila. It is that simple. Prop a slice up on a crisped slice of baguette, (I make my own baguette. That’s another post but trust me when I tell you it’s easy and so worth it.) and finish it off with a spoonful of cherry preserves.
A simple salad to go with it (yes, you have permission to put bacon in the salad) and you’re set. Your dinner-table guests will fall quickly under the influence of this impressive (and impressively easy) winner.
The only changes we’ve made to the original recipe is the addition of a little brown sugar in the rub. We also tested the cooking method and found that grilling the loin first before oven-roasting produced the juiciest meat (and the most attractive loin). Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Don’t skip this step or you’ll be very, very sorry.
This dolled-up tenderloin could also be an appetizer for a cocktail party. And you would be the recipient of many rounds of applause. Bravos, even.
So, Friends, let us celebrate the swine! All hail to the pig and do let’s toast all it can do for mankind. Forget about the naysayers (Daddy Bite will come around), we believers understand the true power of pork….especially if it has cherry jam on top.
Coffee Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Preserves – adapted from this recipe from The Denver Post
1 tablespoon coffee beans
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 pounds pork tenderloins
1 baguette, thinly sliced into rounds on the diagonal
10-ounce jar cherry jam or preserves
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
In a spice grinder, combine the coffee beans, brown sugar, garlic powder, fennel seeds, paprika, peppercorns and salt. Grind until the beans and seeds are finely ground. Rub the spice-coffee blend evenly and liberally over the pork tenderloins and allow it to rest, in its rubbed glory, for 20-30 minutes at room temperature. Grill the tenderloin for about 8 minutes total, turning so all sides get a good char. Set the tenderloins on the prepared baking sheet, then roast for 20 – 25 minutes, or until they reach 145 F at the center. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, brush the baguette slices with olive oil, then arrange on a baking sheet and toast for 2 minutes, or until just barely browned.
When pork has rested, cut it into thin slices. To serve, place one slice of pork on each piece of baguette, then top with a spoonful of cherry jam.