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(recipe, Kate McDonough)
I was late in falling in love with pork tenderloin. For the longest time I somehow missed recognizing how this value-priced cut of meat was so tasty and versatile. Plus the tenderloins, which typically weigh about a pound, are a good size for smaller households. The tenderloin is from the part of the animal below the ribs and, when butchered with the adjacent bone, sold as a loin pork chop. The meat is tender, lean, mild in flavor, and has about the same amount of fat as a boneless, skinless chicken breast. The fillet can be cut into thick medallions and sautéed or grilled, but cooked whole, it makes a perfect centerpiece for a weekly meal. Because this cut is small and low in fat, roasting can leave it overcooked, dry, and flavorless. But with just a little care and the help of an instant-read thermometer, a pork tenderloin can be a frequent go-to dinner choice. It doesn't need fussing to add flavor, but a quick spice rub will enhance the meat's taste. Aleppo pepper is a smoky pepper, mild but with a kick, that is often used in Middle Eastern cooking. Here I simply combine it with sea salt to add a little heat to the pork without overwhelming its delicate flavor. This recipe serves two. For more servings, just increase the number of tenderloins and cook them at the same time.
Tip: To accompany a simple pork tenderloin, sauté sliced apples in a little butter until they soften and brown a bit on the edges. Prepare them while the tenderloin is in the oven and serve them as a side dish along with roasted sweet potatoes or sautéed bitter greens.