Recently, Scott and I found ourselves with a delicious dilemma one Saturday afternoon. Our job had unloaded a surplus of meat on us, including a pork tenderloin, a cut we both felt was all too often dry and uninspired in the wrong hands. We were both craving a hearty and comforting lunch, so we decided to take the pork to task using a seasonal approach, and prove that pork tenderloin can shine if given the right treatment.
I gotta be honest – this dish turned out way better than either of us thought it would given the off the cuff nature of its creation! All we knew is that we wanted to capture the flavors of fall, and a spice rub featuring maple sugar, smoked sea salt and rosemary was a good place to start. After that, a healthy dose of butter and a splash of sherry was all we needed to pull together a terrific pan sauce to accompany it. We literally found ourselves sopping up every last bit of this pan sauce with hunks of juicy pork tenderloin, and felt very pleased with ourselves all the while.
While the pork roasted, we put together a side dish featuring my favorite of the fall gourds, the delicata squash. Delicata’s got a lot going for it in my book – not only is it mild and sweet like its cousin the butternut, but it’s easy to prep with its thin edible skin, which also means you won’t risk losing a finger trying to slice into it. We recently ate at Dove’s Luncheonette, where we shared a dish of braised delicata, radicchio and chanterelle topped with fried cheese curds that they dubbed a “salad”. Kind of a stretch, I know – but go with us on this.
While intriguing, we both felt the cheese curds were, undeservedly, the star of the dish, and knew we could do it one better back in the test kitchen. Our version swaps out chanterelles for more wallet friendly shiitakes and instead of cheese curds, we went with crumbled goat cheese for an easier weeknight fix. This warm salad would be equally at home on your Thanksgiving table as it is on the coffee table after a long workday – it’s THAT good, and THAT easy.
Warm Delicata and Radicchio Salad
- 1 delicata squash
- 1 head radicchio
- 1 pint shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Italian parsley to garnish
- 1 oz Crumbled goat cheese
For the Vinaigrette
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut off ends of squash and scoop seeds from interior. Halve squash vertically, and then slice into 1/4 inch half moons. Slice shiitakes thinly, trimming any woody stems. Halve radicchio and chop coarsely.
Toss squash and shiitake together with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes. When squash looks like it’s softened, remove from oven and add radicchio and hazelnuts, stirring to combine. Continue to roast for another 15 minutes, or until radicchio is wilted and everything has started to brown.
Once ready to serve, add vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly. Serve with goat cheese crumbles and chopped parsley.
Rosemary Maple Pork Pork Tenderloin
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp maple sugar or maple syrup, divided
- 1 tsp of smoked salt (we used alderwood, but applewood would be good too)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra to garnish
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth or water
- 2 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 425°F. Make seasoning blend using first five ingredients and season pork loin thoroughly, reserving 1 teaspoon of maple syrup. While oven preheats, heat frying pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tsp olive oil and sear loin on both sides until browned. Add sherry and broth offheat, stirring to release the fond and place in oven.
Roast pork tenderloin for 20 minutes, flipping meat halfway through and checking that pan does not scorch; if dry, add 1/4 cup more of broth. Once the pork reaches your desired level of doneness, set aside and keep warm.
To finish the pan sauce, rewarm accumulated juices in pan to a simmer, reducing if necessary until it coats the back of a spoon. Stir in butter, remaining maple syrup and rosemary offheat. Slice pork loin and serve with sauce.