Friday, 4 June 2010

Pork tenderloin with sage and pancetta

Our first weekend back on home soil (hovering over it actually) as Mr and Mrs BSG was spent mostly apart. Man do stag – wife play house.

Well…not exactly. This particular one spent a blissful Saturday evening folded with friends in a squishy chesterfield, sipping expertly-crafted cocktails in Mark’s Bar at HIX, the next day dawning on a happy Campari headache.

To welcome back the BSG from rather a damp couple of days under a beer-bong I decided to bestow upon him a big, loving plate of food (I don’t mean to mis-ape Gregg the Egg here), inspired by our very local and most favoured old-school gastropub: The Eagle. Whatever you eat there, the flavours are bold and gutsy, and you leave as if you have had a ginormous hug from your most bearlike friend. Armed with half-memories and taste snippets from past dining experiences there, I decided upon roast pork tenderloin with sweet red peppers roasted with capers and sherry vinegar, on wet polenta drizzled with greenest olive oil and the rich piggy juices. Just right with a glass of Fino (water for him).

Pork tenderloin is such a precious yet good value cut of meat, but I must confess to being rather new to it. I had gone a whole childhood without seeing it in its comic entirety - it does look rather rude if you are juvenile, which I am. As its name suggests it is also wonderfully yielding, not to mention versatile, lending itself to so many flavours. (It is also lean, if you’re into that.)Try tenderloin slathered in all manner of rubs for the barbeque.

As is always the case this time of year, I am desperately seeking gooseberries, not only because I love them, but because I’m sure their twang would go brilliantly with something like this.

Here is but one of many delectable guises:

Pork tenderloin wrapped in sage and pancetta

(Serves 4)

One pork tenderloin

Pancetta slices

Sage leaves


Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Lay the pancetta slices out so that they overlap at the edges and place fresh sage leaves at random intervals. Season the pork with pepper, place it onto the edge of the pancetta rectangle and carefully roll. The pancetta should stick to itself but you can always secure with string or cocktail sticks to make sure. Trivet the meat on a few lemon slices on a baking tray and roast for 25 minutes or so, letting it rest for five minutes. Serve sliced and bathed in its rich, lemon-scented juices.

Pancetta sage

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