All You Need to Know About Pork Tenderloin

Currently sitting at my favorite neighborhood patisserie – nibbling on the best chocolate almond croissant in Park Slope (Colson at the corner of 9th and 6th ave) – piecing together the clips of my first totally solo video project. And it’s starting to feel like a mining operation: pealing away the jumbled parts of my 3-hour, single-take, cut-less footage and jerky tripod adjustments – a testament to the importance of asking for an extra set of hands. However, my favorite part of this whole process of making these videos has been the challenge of putting my film schooling to practice in this new food video domain. It’s not perfect and my standards are much too high but it’s really fun. I love the process of demonstrating a process. Food is a process. It’s practice and it’s putting your knowledge of ingredients and tools to the test. Sometimes it doesn’t turn out the way we envision but when it does the process of getting to that point makes you feel like an expert the next time around. Being confident and accepting the process is the key to success.

This video came about because some folks commented on one of our pork tenderloin Instagram posts, professing their frustration with pan-searing pork and that it never looks like “that”. But, I’ll be honest, neither did mine. It took me a few tries and lots of deep breaths to get it right. Laura and the crew would probably say it was my biggest hurdle. But I’m here to tell you that it is possible! Here are a few tips I picked up in the process 🙂

  • Prepping a pork tenderloin:
    • Pork is best seared, to get that crispy, unctuous crust, then popped in the oven at 425 degrees to finish.
    • First, you must trim off something called the “silverskin”. According to my research, “silverskin is connective tissue that doesn’t dissolve when the tenderloin is cooked, so it needs to be trimmed away” ( Hold it tightly with your fingertips and stick a sharp knife, preferably a boning knife or pairing knife, through to make a thin slit and follow the tissue until it’s removed.

  • The longer you marinate, the better.
    • Next, it’s important to marinate the tenderloin for as long as possible, at least an hour. Although, we all know apple and pork is a winning combo, pork is also great with almost any citrus. Pork absorbs flavors beautifully. You can adjust your seasonings to go along with whatever you’re making.
    • Make sure you strip the pork of excess marinade before you start searing but don’t pour it down the drain just yet! You’ll use it later. You can also add a little something extra to the marinade after you’ve stripped it like honey or agave, sriracha, anything that is likely to burn in the pan while it sears. We added honey to the recipe in this video and created a sweet glaze.
    • (Bonus tip: you can also make extra marinade before you add the pork to use as salad dressing!)

  • How to get the perfect sear every time:
    • When you’re searing pork, or anything for that matter, you want to make sure your pan is really really hot. You can test this with the water splash test, if it sizzles you’re ready to go. Add the oil. This can be anything you have laying around but if you’re getting really technical, you’ll want something with a “high-smoke-point” (things like grapeseed oil, safflower oil or canola oil). Make sure it covers the whole surface of the pan, then carefully layer the meat on top. It will splatter so watch out!
    • You’re going to create an even sear around the whole tenderloin so it’s crispy all the way around. To do this, you’ll roll the pork toward (or away) from you, allowing the pork to get a nice sear on each roll. On the last roll just turn, spread with your excess marinade or glaze and pop it in the oven.

  • Finish it off in the oven.
    • Oven timing is tricky here because oven temps vary, pork girth vary, and different pans transfer heat differently. Before you give up, there’s an easy solution. Welcome meat thermometer! Check the pork after about 6-8 minutes. Stick the thermometer in the thickest park of the meat. You want it to read 135-140. It will finish cooking while it settles.

  • Let it rest!
    • Probably the most important tip we can give you is to let it rest. Make sure the pork rests for at least 10 minutes – just enough time to whip up your salad or strain your rice. This will ensure juicy pork. Even if you think you overcooked it, it will still be delicious and juicy if you allow the meat to rest.
  • Save le jus.
    • The final tip I have is to pour the juices that pool on your cutting board over the meat. It’s a trick I learned long ago and will never serve meat to another living soul without it. Perhaps the simplest way to transform a piece of meat into a savory chef-d’oeuvre.

Our go-to pork marinade ingredients and pairings:

As shown in the video:

  • Roasted pork tenderloin with lots of fresh thyme, rosemary, garlic, salt + pepper and honey to finish.
    • Paired with delicate Boston lettuce, shaved radish, lightly blanched green beans, and brown rice with a lemon-dijon vinaigrette
  • Roasted pork tenderloin with orange zest, garlic, grainy Dijon mustard and honey to finish
    • Paired with roasted sweet potato wedges, quinoa and simple arugula salad with citrus Dijon vinaigrette
  • Laura’s Cooks vs. Cons pork tenderloin:

How to Prep Kale

Someone once told me you have to soak kale for an hour and allow it to dry out on a kitchen towel for another hour before chopping it, which is why I spent many years avoiding it. Ordering kale in restaurants felt like such a luxury. Since then I’ve obviously done a little more research and that method has since been debunked, however there was definitely a time in my life when I thought prepping kale was a ridiculously arduous task. This got me thinking; what if other people had received similarly faulty and perplexing information about kale prep and perhaps this was why our clients often ask for extra prepped kale? So, today, we’re here to demystify the steps to perfectly prepped kale. And I promise it’s not as complicated as you’re making it out to be.

The things I’ve learned about prepping kale: buy a salad spinner, the stems are not really edible (unless you cook them or chop them finely), roll the leaves up like a sushi roll or burrito, slice it as thin as possible and massage it just a little with some oil and salt or extra vinaigrette.

It’s no surprise that kale is one of our favorite greens, not only for it’s health benefits but it’s heartiness as well. Prepped kale is a great option for people that like to keep things in their fridge all week. Our team preps it out and uses it as the last salad on our client’s weekly menus because it stays green and crunchy for a long time, sometimes as long as a week and a half. But if you’ve eaten a bad batch of kale you know that there’s nothing worse than getting a solid chunk of stem in your mouth. This is why kale prep is important.

To de-stem kale, hold the kale stem with one hand and strip the greens with the other. Next, lay the kale flat on your cutting board with with the tip facing you. Roll it up from front to back and hold it in place with one hand. With your knife slice the kale thinly in one fluid motion without sawing at the greens (in chef terms this is called a chiffonade).

Next it’s time to rinse. Kale is one of the dirtiest greens with lots of nooks and crannies so salad spinners are pretty much a necessity if you want a good clean and don’t feel like spending a good portion of your prep time straining and blotting your greens with paper towels (been there). We like to wash our kale after it’s been stripped and chopped because it’s easier to transport from board to spinner. Be sure not to over handle the kale because it will start to soften and wilt. This is only important if you wish to store your prepped kale in the fridge for as long as possible.

If you’re planning on serving it right away, you’ll probably want to massage it. If you don’t think you’re a fan of kale, it’s probably because you haven’t massaged it. This is a technique for softening kale to make it easier to eat and gives the dressing a better grip. You can do this with a little vinaigrette or a sprinkle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Don’t get crazy with it, once you feel your kale start to break down stop.

If you’re like me and you hate throwing ingredients away, you’re probably wondering what to do with the leftover stems. These are great chopped up and sautéed in a stir-fry or frittata. Making a soup? Add it in with your onion, celery, etc. for a little extra crunch.

For this video we used lacinato kale (dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale) but you can use with technique for any variety of kale. You can also use this technique when you’re prepping chard or collards.

Once you’ve mastered your prep, here are a few of our favorite kale salads. Hope this how-to opens you up to a world of delicious-kale-salad-possibility!

With love, Charlotte

  • Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts –
  • Kale and Pecorino Salad with Ricotta Salata (we usually swap out crumbled goat cheese for the ricotta salata) –
  • Raw Tuscan Kale Salad (add avo) –
  • Kale Market Salad –
  • Northern Spy’s Kale Salad (a good “gateway” kale salad with all of that cheese!) –
  • Lamon-Garlic Kale Salad (add avo) –
  • Kale Salad with Dates, Parmesan and Almonds (make extra vinaigrette) –