Califonia Bountiful
Main Dish

Pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin

Brining adds moisture and flavor—and provides a measure of assurance—when cooking pork or poultry. "If you brine it first, even if you overcook it, you will have a fantastic product," chef John Paolone said.

Chef John Paolone
Café Firenze, Moorpark

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1 tbsp. olive oil
4 peppercorns
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig sage
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 quart water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
1 quart ice

Pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin
1 (1-lb.) pork tenderloin
10 thin slices pancetta
1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Cracked black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil


For brine: Place oil, peppercorns, rosemary, sage and garlic in a large pot. Sauté over medium heat until garlic is toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Add sugar and salt, and stir to dissolve. Place ice in pot, then transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir until liquid cools. Submerge tenderloin in liquid and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours. Remove from liquid and pat dry with paper towels.

For pork: Place a large piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Lay pancetta slices in a line on the plastic, overlapping slightly, until the line of pancetta is as long as the tenderloin.

Season tenderloin with rosemary, sage, garlic and pepper. Place the loin across the pancetta and roll the loin and pancetta together as tightly as possible. When finished, you will have extra plastic at each end. Grab the ends and roll the pork on the table, like a candy wrapper. The plastic will get tighter and the loin will become uniform in thickness. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and preheat an ovenproof sauté pan over high heat. Add a drizzle of oil to pan. Remove pork from plastic and place in skillet. Cook on all sides until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Place in oven until desired doneness—approximately 8 to 12 minutes for an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Transfer to a serving plate and season with pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 2

Photo: © 2017 Tony Pinto

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