Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pork Tenderloin Baked in a Salt Crust - March Recipes to Rival

Browned Roast Set on a Bed of Salt

Roast Buried in Salt

Tenderloin After Roasting and Removal of Salt Crust

Plated Pork Tenderloin

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...It's time for the March challenge at Recipes to Rival. This month's challenge, chosen by Temperama of High on the Hog, was roasting a whole fish in a salt crust. She gave us the option of using another protein for the exercise and that's what I decided to do. Bob and I had our first sampling of salt crusted meat in China. Once home, I learned how to roast a whole salt crusted chicken that was a reasonable facsimile of what we had eaten in Asia. I first thought I'd use that for this month's challenge but there were a couple of drawbacks. It was neither quick nor easy to do and Bob pointed out that it had absolutely no color and was singularly unattractive. He also reminded me of the burns I received from the hot salt. I remembered a recipe that I'd seen and clipped for a pork tenderloin that was roasted in a salt crust, but, of course, couldn't find it. Google to the rescue. I found another recipe in an article written by Ezra Klein for The American Prospect and decided to use it for the challenge. The recipe originally appeared in the L.A. Times. The procedure is quite simple and, if you're the least bit adventurous, I urge you to give it a try. While I think the merits of salt crusted roasting are overrated, that doesn't mean it shouldn't be tried. So, if you have time and an obscene amount of salt, I urge you to expand your cooking repertoire. You won't hate the finished product. There are basically three ways to salt roast. Loose salt is most often used with vegetables and shellfish. Shellfish are buried in already hot salt, while vegetables will have salt poured over them. Another method combines salt with water to produce a mixture that looks like wet sand. The "sand" is packed by handfuls over whatever is being roasted. Salt can also be mixed with egg whites before roasting. Some think the egg whites make the "whatever" roast less salty. Interestingly, none of these methods produce something that is unbearably salty, but you'll have to be the final judge of that. Here's the recipe for salt crusted pork tenderloin. Enjoy!

Pork Tenderloin Baked in a Salt Crust...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, courtesy of Ezra Klein and the L.A. Times


2 tablespoons snipped rosemary leaves

6 cups coarse salt

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 (1 1/4 -pound) pork tenderloin

1 pound fingerling potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled

1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon minced shallots


1) Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine rosemary and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir in 1 cup of water. Mix until texture is like gritty snow or sand.

2) In a large skillet, heat oil until it shimmers. Pat pork tenderloin dry with paper towels and sear it in hot oil until it is browned on all sides, about 8 minutes.

3) While pork is browning, spoon a layer of salt about one-fourth-inch thick in bottom of a gratin or baking dish just big enough to hold pork and potatoes in a single layer.

4) When pork is browned, pat it dry with a paper towel to remove any excess oil and place it in center of gratin dish. Arrange potatoes around the outside and cover everything with remaining salt.

5) Roast until pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees, about 20 to 25 minutes. At this point, pork will be quite moist but still a little pink. If you prefer pork to be more cooked, push temperature to 150, about 5 more minutes. Remove baking dish from the oven and let set 5 minutes to finish cooking.

6) With a sturdy metal spoon or chef's knife, chip a crack around base of salt crust and carefully lift off top. Use a dry pastry brush to brush away any salt on surface of potatoes or pork, turning pork over to brush all sides. Transfer pork to a carving board. Slice pork into medallions one-fourth-inch thick and arrange on a serving platter. Place potatoes in a medium bowl and toss with the shallots and butter just until coated, discarding any excess butter. Arrange potatoes around outside of pork and serve immediately. Yield: 3 to 4 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:

Tuscan Herb Roasted Chicken - One Perfect Bite

Chipotle Marinated Pork Tenderloin - One Perfect Bite

Roast Pork with Raspberry Balsamic Glaze - One Perfect Bite

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