After weeks and weeks of sheltering at home, the new freedom of going outside without a coat seems even more luxurious this year. Suddenly, my available square footage has more than doubled, and this new infusion of vitamin D has given me new energy.
I have never been so excited to fire up my grill. Instead of seeking the comfort foods of my winter quarantine like pasta, homemade bread and cookies, I now find myself naturally craving colorful platters of well-seasoned vegetables and savory, smoked meats like this Springtime Grilled Pork Tenderloin.
Pork tenderloin is one of my favorite meats for grilling. Not only is it a terrific source of healthy, lean protein and other nutrients, it is also affordable and amazingly easy to cook.
In fact, the first time I ever grilled a pork tenderloin by myself was during the photo shoot for my Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa recipe, featured on July 27, 2016. In spite of my nerves, the photos turned out beautifully, and the grilled pork tasted amazing. From that point on, I have had a soft spot for pork tenderloin.
We have an abundance of fresh chives in our garden this year, which were the inspiration for the flavorful marinade in this recipe. Chives sing of springtime and I wanted to create a dish that is full of fresh, bright flavors.
This simple marinade is made with a blend of fresh herbs, including chives, parsley and basil, as well as minced garlic and lemon zest. For the liquid components, in addition to extra-virgin olive oil, I used a variety of acids to help tenderize the meat and add more flavor, like white wine, fresh lemon juice and red wine vinegar.
To prepare the pork, first, use a sharp knife with a narrow tip, like a boning knife, to remove the layer of silverskin membrane from the tenderloin.
While fat is inherent to the meat, and brings a ton of flavor with it, the shiny, silver connective tissue cannot be digested and will cause the meat to be tough and chewy. This step will help ensure that the texture of the pork is tender and juicy.
Next, place the tenderloins in a baking dish and season each generously with kosher salt and black pepper, then cover with all of the marinade. The liquids, herbs and seasonings will infuse the meat with flavor and tenderness. I recommend letting the pork tenderloin marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours before grilling, and overnight is even better.
To cook the pork, first make sure that your grill is clean, hot and lubricated. I grill the tenderloin on direct, high heat, searing each side first for several minutes to achieve grill marks before turning.
The ideal cooking temperature for pork tenderloin is 145 degrees to ensure a light pink center and optimum texture. I remove the meat from the grill when my thermometer reaches 135 to 140 degrees, as the temperature will continue to increase as the meat rests before carving.
This Springtime Grilled Pork Tenderloin is full of bright, fresh flavor with a satisfyingly smoky finish that can only come from grilling outdoors. Happy grilling!
Springtime Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Serves: 4 to 6
2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons white wine (or add an additional tablespoon of vinegar and 2 tablespoons water)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons + ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 whole pork tenderloins (about 1.25 pounds each)
In a medium bowl, stir together the chives, parsley, basil, garlic and lemon zest until combined. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar and wine and whisk to combine. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper and whisk again until incorporated; set aside.
Use a sharp knife to remove the entire layer of silverskin from each tenderloin, and any fat as desired (remember, fat is flavor). The silverskin cannot be digested and will make that part of the tenderloin tough and chewy.
Place the tenderloins in a baking dish or roasting pan. Season each tenderloin with the remaining tablespoon of kosher salt and 2 teaspoons of black pepper, sprinkling each on top and bottom. Pour all of the marinade over the tenderloins and use your hands or a brush to cover the tenderloins completely with the mixture. Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before grilling, or up to 24 hours.
Once the grill is hot, brush some oil on the grates and then add the pork tenderloin. Let the meat sit for at least 2 to 3 minutes on the grill before turning, and then cook for about 13 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally and periodically basting the meat with the remaining marinade.
To check for doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the tenderloin. The ideal temperature for pork tenderloin is 145 for medium rare, and 160 for medium. The meat will continue cooking for several minutes even off the grill, and it’s best to remove it when the thermometer is 5 to 10 degrees below your desired temperature, as the meat will continue cooking for several minutes as it rests.
Once done, remove pork from grill, cover lightly with tin foil and let rest for at least 5 to 10 minutes before carving into slices ¼-inch thick.
Recipe Time Capsule:
This week in...
- 2019: Coconut Lime Macaroons
- 2018: Mother's Day Raspberry Almond Scones
- 2017: Luscious Lemon Curd Parfait
- 2016: Syttende Mai Salmon with Lingonberries
- 2015: Chicken Poblano Soup
- 2014: Sarello's Wild Mushroom Soup
- 2013: Walleye Cakes
Recipes can be found with the article at InForum.com.
“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.