November 5, 2009

Pesto Pork Sandwiches

I tried yet another recipe from Colleen at Over Cocktails for dinner this week. Oscar loved this sandwich. I mean LOVED this sandwich.

At first he was skeptical because of the pesto. When Oscar thinks sandwich, his condiments are typically mayo, mustard, etc. So when I told him the recipe called for pesto, he was leery.

To tell the truth, we've never been huge pesto fans in our house. We have had our share of overly done pesto dishes while eating out so I have steered away from pesto recipes. I think you have to be really careful with pesto because it has such a strong flavor but since the supermarket had natural pork tenderloin on sale, I decided to give this recipe a try.

I am glad I did because it is delicious. A must try if you are looking for a new sandwich to spice up your repertoire.

Pesto Pork Sandwiches via Over Cocktails

For the sandwiches
• Pork tenderloin, sliced (recipe below)
• Ciabatta bread or rolls, brushed with olive oil and broiled until lightly browned
• Buffalo mozzarella, sliced
• Tomatoes, sliced
• Good pesto, homemade or a good store-bought one (Whole Foods has a great pesto in their deli department although they don't sell it on the shelves, you have to ask for it)

Ina Garten's recipe for herb-marinated loin of pork from Back to Basics:
Grated zest of one lemon
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I think she skipped this)
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra for the grill
2 T minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 1/2 T minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 T chopped fresh thyme
2 t Dijon mustard
Kosher salt
3 pork tenderloins, 1 lb each
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and 2 tsp salt in a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with the marinade. Squeeze the air out of the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.

When you're ready to cook, preheat the grill. Be sure to brush the grill with some oil to prevent the pork from sticking. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and discard the marinade but leave the herbs that stick to the meat. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, then grill, turning a few times to brown on all sides, for 15-25 minutes--until the meat registers 137 degrees 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 will be pink(it's just fine) and the thinnest part will be well done. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the juices that collect on the platter.

Because it is currently not grilling weather, I followed the cooking directions on the tenderloin package. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes per pound until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F.

Also, I couldn't find ciabatta rolls at my supermarket so I went with thick sliced sourdough and toasted in without the butter. It was still delicious!

I served the sandwiches with a salad with Colleen's balsamic dressing. Also a thumbs up from Oscar!

Basic Balsamic Dressing via Over Cocktails
2 small garlic cloves
2 heaping Tbs Dijon mustard
1 heaping Tbs brown sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
3 dashes of worcestershire sauce
½ cup balsamic
½-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put everything into the blender and blend on low until thick and well combined. It will take on a pale brown color and a creamy consistency. When it is combined adjust the flavor with salt and pepper. This is also the time to adjust the sweetness or the balsamic zing (use more oil for a milder dressing). This can be refrigerated for up to a couple of days!


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