Monday, October 20, 2014

Iberico Pork Tenderloin - Fried and Baked

Iberico pork is pork from the free-range pata negra ("black-footed pig") found in southwestern Spain near the border of Portugal. This pig has a completely natural diet, foraging the floors of the oak woodlands of that region eating thyme, rosemary, mushrooms and acorns. The genetics of the pig allow it to store fat inside of the muscle tissue, not just outside, which produces tender, rosy meat with a high degree of marbling. The diet of acorns also produces fat high in oleic acid which raises good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol. 
Iberico pork tenderloin.
I've heard of Iberico pork for years, so when I saw that Exotic Meat Market had it available, I decided to order a pork tenderloin. I found a recipe for Iberico pork tenderloin with charred red pepper sauce that looked really easy and good. 
Acorn fed Iberico pork tenderloin from Spain.
My package is solomillo Iberico bellota. Solomillo means sirloin steak and bellota means acorn. The recipe calls for a red bell pepper. I've only got green and go with that. I roast it on my outdoor grill until it is charred on all sides and let it cool. Then I chopped a small yellow onion and five large cloves of garlic and fried them in a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat until softened and golden. Then I chopped up the green pepper and added it to the onion/garlic mix along with a teaspoon of paprika. I cooked it for another minute or two and transferred the mixture to a food processor where I added a teaspoon of dark cherry balsamic vinegar (the recipe called for sherry vinegar) and pulsed it until it was combined. Then I added a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil and pulsed it until it was combined, then seasoned it with salt and pepper. This made the side sauce for the pork.
Skillet with onions, garlic, green pepper and paprika, ready for the food processor.
Blended into a nice sauce with additional olive oil, salt and pepper. Very tasty.
I preheated the oven to 400 degrees. I also heated a skillet on high, rubbed the Iberico pork tenderloin with a tablespoon of vegetable oil and placed the tenderloin in the skilled for three minutes without moving it. Then using tongs, I flipped it over to the other side for two minutes. Then I transferred it to a pan in the oven for one minute.

I removed the tenderloin from the oven and put it on a cutting board for 15 minutes before slicing it. As directed, I drizzled some olive oil on the pork slices and had the pepper/onion/garlic sauce on the side.
Tenderloin on the cutting board while it cools. 
Sliced, drizzled with olive oil and pepper sauce on the side. Excellent!
I liked the rareness of the meat. For those a little squeamish, a little longer in the oven would cook it a little more. 
I quite enjoyed it and the sauce complemented it nicely. I suspect that the recipe called for me to transfer the skillet into the oven directly with the meat in it and I transferred it in a separate pan that was not hot, so it probably did not cooked as much as it would have otherwise. Mine was a little more rare than the picture in the recipe I followed. However, you don't want to over-cook a prime piece of meat like this.

Judy felt that it was too rare for her and passed on it. I was fine with that as it gave me more to feast upon.

I looked at a number of other tenderloin recipes and liked this for its simplicity, how quickly it could be prepared and cooked and the fact that it left the pork itself as the main attraction without a lot of add-ons. 

1 comment:

  1. That's three levels below rare. I'm with Judy; I like my meat to be cooked. Stan, however, might agree with you.