They have returned. Oh, have they returned. After an uber successful field trip to Trader Joe's on a rainy Sunday, we had bags filled with pork tenderloin, arugula, at long last the Thai shrimp dumplings, and some fresh herbs to boot. The answer was simple: pork tenderloin marinated in the juice of a fresh orange, garlic, and rosemary and roasted potato slices all drizzled with a balsamic reduction, and a salad with a maple vinaigrette and goat cheese. And while that menu may sound intimidating, it was anything but to put together. As soon as I walked in the door, the tenderloin went into a large ziploc bag with the juiced orange, three cloves of grated garlic, and a sprig of finely chopped rosemary. A little drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and seal off the bag making sure to remove most of the air. Give the meat a serious rub down from the outside of the bag. It helps, big time, to infuse the marinade into the meat.
Then take a break. Go watch some TV. Catch up on a crossword. Call home.
About an hour before dinner guests arrive, preheat the oven to 375 and slice the potatoes into thin disks and place on a large sheet tray. Drizzle with olive oil, plenty of salt and pepper, some slivered garlic and chopped rosemary. Throw it into the oven for about 20 minutes or so. Just keep an eye on them. They should be golden brown around the edges and absolutely creamy in the middle.
While those are roasting away, make the balsamic reduction. Pour about a 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar into a small nonstick skillet. Turn the heat to medium high. Add in a smashed clove of garlic and a sprig of rosemary along with a tablespoon of maple syrup. Bring to a boil then cut the heat back to low and let it thicken up. This will happen quickly. About 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a small bowl.
Sear the tenderloin in a hot pan on all sides then transfer it to an oven at 350. Roast it for about 15 minutes. Let it rest. It should still be faintly pink on the inside. Otherwise, it'll be dry, dry, dry.
The vinaigrette is my classic with the addition of a tablespoon of maple syrup. You won't even know it's there, you'll just taste a subtle sweetness and it will make the texture thick and luxurious.
To plate, slice the tenderloin and serve the potatoes around it. Drizzle it all with the balsamic reduction. Gently toss baby greens with the vinaigrette and crumbled goat cheese and you're done. Sit down, toast your friends, and savor each and every bite.