Many people find roast pork tenderloin daunting, but it really is quite simple. A marinade of grapefruit juice, garlic and brown sugar flavors the meat, while also tenderizing it with acidity. Juicy and slightly caramelized, the pork pairs well with a crunchy and bright fennel salad topped with meaty pistachios and segments of citrus.
Since the grapefruit juice has enzymes that break down the protein, be careful not to marinade the pork overnight or else the pork will begin to break down and the flesh will become mushy. One hour is the perfect amount of time to marinade before roasting (and more than enough time to stream an episode of something on Netflix).
Roast Pork Tenderloin with Fennel-Citrus Salad
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus marinating time
Cook Time: 25 minutes, plus resting time
Total Time: 40 minutes, plus marinating and resting time
For the Roast Pork:
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly toasted
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled
One 1½-pound pork tenderloin
For the Fennel Salad:
2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed, fronds reserved
1 pink grapefruit
1 blood orange
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup pistachios, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
1. Marinate the pork: In a blender, purée the brown sugar, grapefruit juice, olive oil, salt, paprika, fennel seeds, pepper and garlic until smooth, then transfer to a medium bowl. Add the pork tenderloin and toss to coat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 450°, then line a baking sheet with foil and fit with a wire rack. Place the pork loin onto the wire rack and roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 140°, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile make the fennel salad: Halve the fennel bulbs lengthwise, then using a mandoline or chef's knife, thinly slice the fennel, again lengthwise. Transfer the sliced fennel to a medium bowl.
4. On a cutting board, slice off the ends of the grapefruit and stand it upright. Using a paring knife, slice off the peel in long strips, working from top to bottom and removing all of the white pith. Hold the shaved fruit over the bowl with the fennel and slice between each membrane to release the grapefruit segments into the bowl. Repeat this with the blood orange.
5. To the bowl with the fennel and citrus segments, add ¼ cup of fennel fronds, the olive oil and lemon juice, then toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
6. Slice the pork and divide between plates. Serve alongside the fennel salad, garnishing the salad with the remaining fennel fronds and chopped pistachios.