Thursday, January 7, 2016

Roulade of Pork Tenderloin

Ann's mother Mary moved in with us this past week and she spent the majority of Sunday afternoon at hospice with Bob while Ann took the afternoon off and we sat around and didn't do much. We're all exhausted. Late afternoon, we went to see Bob, pick up Mary to bring her home, and stopped by the restaurant to forage for dinner.


Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin; Roasted Potatoes and Celery Root
I knew I had a couple of unloved pork tenderloins left from a big party and during the day on Sunday while trying to figure out what to do for dinner, Ann asked me if I would stuff them with spinach and ricotta cheese. So we rummaged the restaurant kitchen for some spinach, ricotta, truffled bread crumbs, and pecorino romano for the stuffing.

Stuffing pork tenderloins isn't a problem or even difficult, but I'm a restaurant chef and presentation is key. Just stuffing a pork tenderloin does not lead to a great looking plate. So I endeavored to wrap the two triangular loins into a single prosciutto-wrapped log from which I could cut beautiful slices, a technique that we use all the time at the restaurant, albeit more frequently for rabbit loin than pork tenderloin.

Butterflied Pork Tenderloins
The technique I use is the same for any loin or tenderloin. First, I split the meat down the middle, open it up, and use a heavy pan to flatten the meat into a single uniformly thick roughly triangular steak. I season both sides of the meat.

Ready to Roll
Next, I lay film out on my work surface and then on top of that lay prosciutto out in a rectangle that is slightly wider than the tenderloins are long and half again as deep as the two pieces of meat are wide when laid side-by-side with the pointed ends of the triangles facing in opposite directions, such that the meat forms a rectangle. Hard to describe in words, but easy to see in the photo, and uncomplicated to do.

Once the prosciutto and the meat are laid out, I put the filling on top of the meat and spread it not quite to the edges of the meat. To make this filling, I mixed sautéed spinach with the ricotta, pecorino romano cheese, and truffled panko in no particular quantities, but let's say roughly equal parts of spinach and ricotta and about half the quantity of pecorino and panko. And then I seasoned it.


Rolled and Ready for the Oven
Using the film, I roll the loin making sure that it stay tight and using the extra length of prosciutto to ensure that the roll stays well sealed. And then it goes into a moderate oven on an oiled sheet tray until it reaches 135F in the center. Pull it out and let it rest and the temperature will climb another 10 degrees at least to 145F, exactly where you want it. I like to cook pork roasts lower and slower (say 350F): there's less shrink and less chance of overcooking, yielding a moister product.

Roasted and Cooled
Once the roast has stood for twenty minutes or so, you should be able to slice it easily with a sharp knife. While mine was standing, I popped a roasting pan of potato and celery root cubes into the oven to accompany the pork. I kicked the heat up to 400F and turned the convection fan on to really crisp up the veg.

Potatoes and Celery Root
Mary and I were talking earlier in the day about celery root and how much we like it (too bad daughter Ann didn't get the vegetable gene!) so I made sure to bring one home to roast for dinner. It's quite a versatile vegetable and can be prepared in any way you can prepare a potato and as a bonus, it is wonderful raw. Use a sharp knife to trim off all the roots and skin and then use the cleaned root to do what you will with it. Celery root makes awesome mash, fries, and chips, is amazing raw in celery rémoulade, as well as diced as a replacement for celery in mirepoix. It is unquestionably one of our most underappreciated vegetables.

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