Relatively quick, moist, and savory, this Sear-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Garlic and Fennel recipe delivers in spades. And pair it with the Kale Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette (shown below), and you’ve got yourself a healthy, low-carb, low-fat, highly flavorful dinner.
Fennel is a classic flavoring for pork because it brings out the sweetness of the meat. That, along with a decent punch of garlic and some chopped fresh herbs, you’ve got yourself a tasty bite of “the other white meat.”
This recipe is straightforward, but you can make it simpler by skipping the browning step. Instead, roll the raw tenderloin in the garlic mixture and roast for about 30 minutes. Although, we prefer to brown the meat and enjoy the extra depth of flavor from searing the exterior.
Sear-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Garlic and Fennel
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
- 4 tsp. fennel pollen or ground fennel seed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs. olive oil; more as needed
- 2 pork tenderloins (2 to 2-1/2 lb. total)
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then set a large wire rack on the sheet.
- Combine the garlic, sage, thyme, fennel, 2 tsp. salt, and 2 tsp. pepper in a small bowl (or right on the cutting board).
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. (You may need to sear the tenderloins separately, depending on pan size.) Transfer to the rack on the baking sheet and let stand until cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, spread half of the garlic-fennel mixture on a cutting board. Roll one of the tenderloins in the mixture (it won’t cover the pork completely), then return it to the rack on the baking sheet.
- Repeat with the rest of the garlic-fennel mixture and the other tenderloin. Scrape any remaining mixture from the board over the tenderloins, and press gently to adhere.
- Roast until the pork registers 130°F to 135°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 15 minutes. (Our 2 tenderloins weighed almost 3 1/2 lbs and took 30 minutes to register 130°.)
- Transfer to the cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 to 7 minutes. Slice and serve, sprinkled with the parsley, if you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Recipe by meat author Bruce Aidells