Are you one of those people who thinks pork tenderloin is just too fancy to serve at home? Or are you stuck in a pork chop rut? Break out of your comfort zone and try this simple recipe that proves how versatile pork tenderloin can be.
There are many reasons why pork tenderloin is a great go-to food for dinner. It cooks quickly, it’s a source of protein and it’s low in fat. Because of its mild flavor, pork is virtually a blank canvas, allowing it to be seasoned and cooked in a multitude of ways. It’s delicious grilled and drizzled with a fresh herb vinaigrette, or pan-seared and finished in the oven then topped with a garlicky pan sauce.
This recipe involves searing the pork first. Why mess with this step? Because searing is a great way to develop flavor. Cooking the meat briefly over high heat caramelizes the outside, forming a crust. This crust tastes amazing and it’s functional, too, acting as a seal to lock-in the pork’s natural juices, while it finishes cooking.
Food Safety Tip: Keep food safety in mind when preparing this dish. Use one cutting board for trimming the raw pork tenderloin and a separate cutting board for slicing after it’s cooked. Also, use a food thermometer to take the guesswork out of knowing when the pork is done. It’s cooked and has reached a safe internal temperature when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loin reaches 145°F. Allow the pork to cool for at least 3 minutes before cutting.
Jerk Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Mango Salsa
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons jerk seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and silver-skin
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, washed and diced
- 1/2 cup fresh mango, washed and diced
- 1/4 cup red onion, washed and diced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, washed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons diced jalapeño, washed
- Salt, to taste
- 1 lime, washed and quartered
- In a small bowl, mix half of the olive oil with the jerk seasoning and salt. Spread mixture evenly over the pork. Place the pork in a resealable plastic bag, seal and marinate it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Food Safety Tip: Never marinate on the counter.
- While pork is marinating, make the salsa. In a mixing bowl combine all of the salsa ingredients and mix well. Season with salt to taste. Note: Salsa can be made ahead of time, just cover and refrigerate promptly.
- Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes.
- Heat a heavy non-stick pan, such as a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until hot, about 3-5 minutes. Add the remaining oil to the pan and then the pork. Cook about 2 minutes per side, until browned. Cover loosely with foil, reduce the heat and cook, turning occasionally, until internal temperature reaches a minimum of 145°F in the thickest part of the pork.
- Remove the pork from the pan and let it rest for at least 3 minutes.
- If you do not have smoky paprika, get some! It adds an indescribable smoky undertone to any dish. However, regular paprika will do just fine in the recipe.
- Make this recipe vegan-friendly by simply omitting yogurt and butter or using plant-based varieties.