This is one of the best two recipes to serve together and even though the list of ingredients is long, don’t be scared. It’s easy and a lot of it is done in advance. The pork marinates overnight in the refrigerator and then grilled. The panzanella salad needs to sit for thirty minutes for the flavors to come together, so you can see this isn’t as intimidating as the list of ingredients would have you believe.
For those of you who love to grill, this would make a very nice Mother’s Day meal. If you are looking for something easy to serve at your next dinner party where the guys can gather around the grill while the ladies visit, this is for you. And because most of the cooking is done outside with the exception of the croutons, and the salad is tossed in one big bowl, there’s not that much to clean up afterwards.
Making the croutons on top of the stove as opposed to browning the bread cubes in the oven is a breeze and a method you’ll want to keep for making croutons for other dishes in the future. No more pulling a sheet pan out of a hot oven and struggling with turning the cubes. In this method the bread cubes brown beautifully on top of the stove if you keep an eye on them and toss or stir occasionally. Don’t omit salting the bread cubes while they cook. An amazing amount of flavor comes from this one step.
These two recipes are real keepers.
Herb-Marinated Pork Tenderloins
Adapted slightly from Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics - serves 6
1 lemon, zest grated
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 to 6 lemons)
Good olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each)
Freshly ground black pepper
Thyme leaves and rosemary flowers for garnish (my rosemary bush was flowering)
Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and 2 teaspoons salt in a sturdy 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with the marinade. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.
Either grill the pork tenderloin on the grill - or preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and discard the marinade but leave the herbs that cling to the meat. Sprinkle the tenderloins generously with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-proof sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sear the pork tenderloins on all sides until golden brown. Place the sauté pan in the oven and roast the tenderloins for 10 to 15 minutes or until the meat registers 137 degrees F at the thickest part. Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Carve in 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices. The thickest part of the tenderloin will be quite pink (it's just fine!) and the thinnest part will be well done. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm, or at room temperature with the juices that collect in the platter. Garnish with rosemary flowers and fresh thyme leaves if desired. Excellent served with a Panzanella salad.
Greek Panzanella Salad
Adapted slightly from How Easy is That by Ina Garten – serves 6
Good olive oil
1 small French baguette or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, large diced
1 yellow bell pepper, large diced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, sliced in half rounds
1/2 pound feta cheese, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Add more olive oil as needed. Set aside when browned.
Place the cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl.
For the vinaigrette, in a jar with a tight fitting lid add all of the ingredients, cover well, and shake to combine and make an emulsion. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta, olives and bread cubes and mix together lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.