While salads don’t usually top our list when the outside temps are hovering around the freezing mark, this Fennel-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Escarole and Apple Salad will make you reconsider. Garlicky tenderloins of pork pair perfectly with a crisp escarole and apple salad in this easy supper.
The University of Michigan Heath System highlights pork tenderloin as a lean-meat option, providing a lower-fat alternative to other cuts, such as pork chops or bacon. Consume pork tenderloin, and you’ll introduce more vitamins, minerals and other nutrients into your diet.
It’s true: Pork really is the other white meat. Ounce for ounce, pork tenderloin has less fat than a chicken breast. So when you’re looking for lean protein to include in your diet, or when you simply crave some healthy meat, pork tenderloin is a good choice. Why? It’s low in fat, high in protein, a rich source of B vitamins and selenium, and is relatively low in calories; a 3-ounce portion contains just 93 calories.
The tenderloin is cut from the center of the pig just below the ribs, which is a tender cut, as long as it’s not overcooked. However, you must cook it properly to kill bacteria. Cook the tenderloin to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, let it sit for five minutes before carving or serving the meat. Don’t skip the resting time, because it helps ensure that all harmful germs are destroyed and allows the juices to recirculate.
For the salad, it’s important that you shave your fennel bulb super-thin, so if you have a mandoline, it will make the job much easier and more precise. For the dressing, I incorporated only four tablespoons of olive oil as opposed to the recommended six—but that is certainly a personal choice.
I found that using a mini food processor for Step 3, created a meat rub consistency more condusive to staying on the pork. Plus you know how we enjoy intense flavors, so I added a full teaspoon of dijon mustard (noted in the directions) to the rub as opposed to just a measley half teaspoon.
So go ahead and add this cool-weather salad to your Winter menu repertoire!
- 4-6 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbs. cider vinegar
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt
- 1 small head fennel, fronds and tender stems finely chopped together, bulb cored and very thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 small pork tenderloins (1-3/4 to 2 lb. total)
- 1 head escarole (about 12 oz.), leaves torn into small pieces
- 1 Pink Lady or other sweet-tart red apple, thinly sliced
Cut off the fronds and thin stems then shave the bulb into very then slices.
The fronds and stems are chopped.
I wanted the rub consistency to be finer so I threw the stems, fronds, garlic and seasonongs into a mini food processor to get this texture.
Both sides of the tenderloins are rubbed with the mixture.
- Position an oven rack 6 inches below the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- In a small bowl, whisk 6 (or less) Tbs. of the oil, the vinegar, shallot, 1 tsp. of the mustard, and 1/4 tsp. salt; set aside.
- In another small bowl, combine the fennel fronds and stems, the remaining 2 tsp. oil and 1/2 tsp. mustard, the garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
- Rub the pork all over with the fennel mixture. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and broil, flipping once, until just cooked through (145°F), about 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the fennel bulb, escarole, apple, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper with half of the dressing. Slice the pork and drizzle with any juice. Serve with the salad, passing the remaining dressing at the table.
After 15 minutes under the broiler, the pork should look like this.
Escarole, fennel and apple slices are tossed together with the dressing in a large bowl.
Make sure to scrape up any of the scrumptious rub that fell of off the meat while slicing and add to your plate.
by Mindy Fox from Fine Cooking