Pork tenderloins with Chimichurri sauce

I became smitten with Chimichurri sauce, an Argentinean herb sauce, at my favorite 5411 Empanada food truck a couple of years ago. I love dunking my baked spinach empanadas into herbaceous garlic-oil and savoring it. Sometimes I need 2 orders of their delicious sauce, but I haven’t quite figured out why or when that is

After a couple of years of eating someone else’s Chimichurri sauce, I decided to start working on my own version. The key elements are parsley, garlic, cilantro, oil and vinegar. Getting that balance of ingredients correct makes for a delicious Chimichurri

This pork tenderloin dish is a great weeknight main course, but it would also be a great salad using leftovers tossed with your favorite fresh lettuce leaves or a delicious hors d’oeuvres arranged on crostini

Ingredients

For the Chimichurri
1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
2 medium cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/2 teaspoon grey sea salt
Scant 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch red pepper flakes, then to taste

For the pork tenderloin
2 16 ounce pork tenderloins, silver skin and sinew trimmed, skinny end tucked under, entire tenderloin tied in 2 inch intervals with cotton kitchen string, extra string trimmed
2 teaspoons grey sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Special equipment: 13 x 9 x 3 disposable aluminum roasting pan

Method
Set oven rack in upper third of oven, 5 inches from broiler element. Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit

For the Chimichurri
Grind the ingredients for the Chimichurri into a sauce in a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade or in mortar and pestle. Cover and set aside at room temperature. Make ahead: Chimichurri can be made up to 4 hours ahead kept at room temperature

For the pork tenderloin
Mix the salt, pepper, canola oil and baking soda together in a small bowl. Rub the tenderloin all over with the salt mixture. Set the rubbed tenderloin inside the center of the 13 x 9 x 3 aluminum roasting pan with an even amount of space between and all around them

Turn heated oven to broil; transfer roasting pan to the oven and set a timer for 5 minutes. Turn the tenderloins over and roast another 9 to 12 minutes or until the tenderloins registers 130 degrees Fahrenheit

Remove the pan from the oven, tent with foil and let the tenderloins rest for 10 minutes (carryover cooking time will allow the pork to reach 140 degrees, the proper temperature for pork tenderloin … so letting the pork rest is key)

Cut the strings off the tenderloins and slice on the bias into 3/4 inch slices

Arrange 3 slices on each dinner plate and dress lightly with Chimichurri; pass additional sauce at the table

As an hors d’oeuvres for your cocktail party
Slice a sourdough baguette into 1/4 inch slices, place on a half sheet pan and drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper; bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden; remove from oven

Once the pork has rested, slice into 3/8 inch (between 1/4 and 1/2) slices. Schmear a scant 1/2 teaspoon Chimichurri across each crostini (baked sourdough slices) and center a slice of pork atop the sauce; top the pork with a drop of extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground rainbow, pink and/or black pepper

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