Thursday Dinner: Salt-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary

For the past 15 or 16 years, The Wife and I (and now The Kid) go for a weeklong vacation with our friends from college (and their kids). The houses that we rent have the basic cooking items, so I only bring a pot if we are going to do a boil. Sometimes the previous tenant leaves behind ketchup and salad dressing, but for the most part we bring or shop for all of our foodstuffs.

I got wise a few years ago and started bringing my own kosher salt. I won’t use enough to justify buying a box of it, but use enough that I don’t like going without it. Its the first ingredient in everything from steaks to burgers to corn-on-the-cob. And, yeah, I’m a snob. I don’t keep table salt in the house anymore and I’m not sure whether I own a salt shaker. The little wooden salt cave comes out, packed with the kosher stuff.

My doctor would prefer that I eat less of it to lower my blood pressure (and drink less coffee and get a less stressful job), so she would stroke out if she saw the shear amount of sodium that went into this dish. The salt acts as less of a seasoning here and more of a crust, creating a dome that prevents the meat from drying out from the swelter of your oven.

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WHAT WORKED: The rosemary penetrated the meat and left behind a sharp, pungent flavor.

WHAT DIDN’T: The potatoes were a colossal disappointment, as none of them cooked through. Rock hard. Cook them separately, a point that I’ve reflected below.

EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy to medium.

BEST FOR: A mid-week dinner, as this goes together quite quickly.

SERVE WITH: Roasted fingerling potatoes, cooked separately, and some steamed veggies.

Salt-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary
Inspired by The Wednesday Chef

  • 4 tbsp. canola oil
, divided
  • 1 to 1 1/4 lbs. pork tenderloin
, patted dry with paper towels
  • 2 tbsp. rosemary leaves, chopped coarsely
6 cups kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Bring 3 tbsp. canola oil to a shimmer in a large skillet over high heat. Gently slide the pork tenderloin into the oil, taking care not to burn yourself on splattering oil, and cooking 10 minutes, searing on all sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

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In the meantime, mix the rosemary and salt in a large mixing bowl using a wire whisk to combine. Gradually add a cup of water, continuing to mix until it is gritty. Use a plate to trap the salt and pour off any excess water.

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Pour the remaining tablespoon of oil into a small baking dish and use a paper towel to coat the inside of the dish. Spoon in the salt mixture, tamping it down until you have an even 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep surface. Set the pork on the salt and cover evenly with salt on all sides. 

Roast the pork for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Let stand for 5 minutes. Take a large spoon and crack the salt dome. Remove the salt exterior from the pork and transfer to a carving board. Slice into 1/2-inch thick medallions and serve.

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