Don't be intimidated if you've never butterflied anything before. This recipe walks you through the simple process so that the tenderloin cooks faster and more evenly. A cherry balsamic gastrique or creamy baby bella sauce on top transforms it from a weeknight supper to a holiday-worthy centerpiece.
If you choose not to butterfly the pork tenderloin, simply marinate it whole in the refrigerator for several hours. Roast the whole tenderloin at 400F for 15 to 20 minutes; the internal temperature should be about 145F. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
- 1 (about 1 to 1 ¼ pounds) pork tenderloin
- 1/4 Cup unfiltered cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 Teaspoon each salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon finely chopped rosemary or thyme leaves
- Cherry balsamic gastrique or Creamy baby bella sauce, optional (see notes)
- Fresh rosemary or thyme sprigs, for garnish
Step 1: Trim and butterfly the pork tenderloin as follows: Use a sharp knife to remove all the silver skin from the outside of the tenderloin. Then cut the tenderloin lengthwise down the middle making an incision about 1 inch deep. Use clean hands to open the cut like a book. Then make a lengthwise incision about ½ inch deep on either side of the first cut. Again, open the tenderloin like a book or unfolding a letter. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the meat and use a meat mallet to pound the tenderloin into a uniform 1/2-inch thickness.
Step 2: In the bottom of a shallow dish, mix together ¼ cup cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ½ teaspoon each salt, pepper and rosemary.
Step 3: Put the pork tenderloin into the marinade. Turn to coat all sides. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Or, refrigerate loosely covered for up to several hours.
Step 4: Heat oven to 400F convection or 425F conventional. While the oven heats, remove tenderloin from the fridge to come to room temperature if necessary.
Step 5: To cook, heat a large ovenproof pan or well-seasoned cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium high heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Remove pork from marinade. Swirl remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan, then add tenderloin. Cook 3 minutes without turning. Flip pork, then immediately transfer the pan to the hot oven. Cook until nearly firm when pressed with a finger or 145 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer, about 3 minutes.
Step 6: Remove to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes while you make or reheat the sauce of your choice. Thinly slice the meat. Serve with the sauce. Garnish with herbs.