Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Sunchokes and Sweet Vermouth Vinaigrette

After being gone for a week,  there was a lot of catching up to do. At work. At home. With cooking. In our refrigerator, a pound or so of sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes) were in the crisper, a week old, but looking as good as ever. A pork tenderloin was in the freezer. This recipe seemed perfect.

So, the other night I filed a story, picked up Gabi from daycare, came home and  fired up the grill. As Gabi ate her dinner in the kitchen, I blanched the green beans. Then I sauteed sunchokes and pearl onions with pancetta, the beans and a vermouth vinaigrette. Jeff played with Gabi as I grilled the pork.

The only reason I pulled this off in an hour was because I did a significant amount of work the night before. I made the rub for the pork, and rubbed the meat.  I made the vinaigrette. And, I roasted and sliced the sunchokes.

Time consuming for a weeknight? Maybe, but doable with some planning.  Within an hour it was on plates and ready to eat. It was absolutely worth the effort. This recipe is amazing. I mean, AMAZING. The  rub of pulverized porcini mushrooms, brown sugar and red pepper flakes give the pork a crispy, sweet and spicy crust. The sunchokes, onions and beans soak up the smokiness of the pancetta.  The vermouth vinaigrette adds a hint of sweetness. After Gabi went to bed, Jeff and I ate this with some dry red wine and savored every bite. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Sunchokes and Sweet Vermouth Vinaigrette
barley adapted from The Babbo Cookbook

1/2 cup dry porcini mushrooms, ground to a fine powder in a spice grinder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup hot red pepper flakes
2 pork tenderloins, about 1 1/2 pounds
1 pound sunchokes, aka Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed
2 cups [or so] of Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 pound haricots verts, trimmed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound cipolline or baby onions, peeled [if you can find frozen ones, use them to save time]
1/4 pound pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup sweet vermouth vinaigrette

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, combine the porcini powder, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes and stir well. Apply the mixture as a rub to the pork tenderloins, using as much as possible to coat the meat evenly. Warp the meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the sunchokes in a small roasting pan. Pour the 2 cups of salt over to cover and roast [I used less salt but covered the chokes], for 45 minutes, or until they are tender. Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, slice 1/4 inch thick. Set aside.

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Sept up an ice bath nearby. Cook the haricots verts in the boiling water for 2 minutes, until somewhat tender but not cooked through. Remove and immediately refresh in the ice bath. Once cooled, drain and set aside.

Preheat the grill or broiler. Remove the pork from the refrigerator, brush off the excess rub, and place the tenderloins on the hottest part of the grill. Cook, turning every few minutes, for 13 to 15 minutes, or to an internal temperature of 130 degrees F on an instant read thermometer [on our grill, this took 25 minutes]. Allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes.

In a 12- to 14-inch saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and pancetta and cook slowly over medium heat until both are golden brown, or caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the sunchoke slices, the blanched haricots verts, and the vermouth vinaigrette to the pan and toss over high heat for 3 minutes, so that the vinaigrette reduces and coats all the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Place some sunchokes and onions on each plate and arrange the sliced pork on top. Pile the haricot verts over, drizzle with vinaigrette, and serve.

Serves 4.

Sweet Vermouth Vinaigrette

1 cup sweet red vermouth
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the vermouth, vinegar, and rosemary and bring to a boil. Redcue the heat to medium and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 10-12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. Once cooled, drain into a medium bowl, discarding the rosemary. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Makes about 1 cup.


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