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I developed this recipe based on what I had on hand: rosemary fresh from the pot on my balcony, a Niman Ranch pork tenderloin, and a brand-new jar of dijon mustard. The result is an incredibly flavorful, relatively quick dinner that is also pretty low in fat (you could use a nonstick pan and less oil for even lighter results, though the searing will not be as good). Great with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies for a simple weeknight meal that's fit for guests.
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Rinse tenderloin and pat dry.
- Using a sharp paring knife, make several slits in the tenderloin and insert garlic slivers.
- Use about half the garlic.
- In a mortar& pestle (or small food processor), mash the fennel seeds and the remainder of the sliced garlic with about 1 tsp.
- salt to form a paste.
- Combine fennel-garlic mixture with chopped rosemary, mixture will be crumbly.
- Sprinkle the pork tenderloin with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
- Rub dijon mustard all over surface of the meat.
- Pat the herb mixture onto the surface of the meat, it should adhere to the mustard.
- Place a cast iron skillet (or other heavy-bottomed skillet) over medium heat till hot.
- Add oil, allow oil to get quite hot, just before the smoking point.
- Add the tenderloin to the pan.
- DO NOT TOUCH IT FOR AT LEAST TWO MINUTES!
- Then lift it with tongs and sear the other sides, repeating until the surface is browned and crusty.
- Some of the coating will adhere to the pan, that's OK.
- Place the pan in the hot oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until tenderloin is cooked to your liking (at least 145 degrees).
- Allow meat to rest, covered, for about ten minutes before slicing and serving.
- You can deglaze the pan with a little white wine or lemon juice to make a delicious pan sauce.