I find myself many times being out at a restaurant or buying something pre-made and being happily challenged by trying to recreate it. And, most of the time I am extremely excited by the outcome, as it is either a bit better or just tweaked a little bit more to my liking.
And then there are some things you want to recreate EXACTLY the way you remember it. And, in this instance, it was a pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin I had purchased from The Fatted Calf at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer's Market back in September. According to the rep at the booth, it had been marinated in herbs, white wine, and mustard, then wrapped in pancetta. She had told me to just bake it off, and honestly, it was simple indulgence on the cloud I like to call "pork heaven".
It wasn't until recently, when I was cooking for my parents, that my Mom said she really wanted pork tenderloin. I immediately flashed on how flavorful and moist that pork tenderloin had been, yet simple and delicious all at the same time. It was now my time to recreate the Fatted Calf's version.
I set out with the ingredients in the first pic:
* pork tenderloin
* white wine (some for the pork, some for me)
* dijon mustard
* fresh rosemary, finely chopped (and any other herbs, such as thyme, parsley, etc...)
* thinly sliced pancetta (in this case, I had the awesome opportunity to score some La Quercia pancetta...)
* sea salt and cracked black pepper
First, I made a semi-thick glaze of mustard, white wine, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper to slather on the pork. Really, this type of dish you just need to eyeball and taste as you go!
Next up, seasoning up the pork tenderloin with the mustard/wine/herb mix:
You don't need a whole goopy mess, just enough to cover and infuse some flavor. This tenderloin is going to "marinate" overnight (well, at least that is what I did with mine, but at least 8 hours is my suggestion) and the flavors will only subtly develop with time.
Next, setting up the pancetta "wrap": I like to place a piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board and then start layering the pancetta pieces; make sure to have the tenderloin in front of you to "measure" the pancetta "wrap" as you go...
Next, place the marinated pork tenderloin on top of the pancetta slices:
And start to layer pancetta on top of the tenderloin to cover:
Next is to carefully fold/roll up the tenderloin with the pancetta; the marinade will help the pancetta to stick to the tenderloin as you wrap up:
It doesn't have to look perfect, but the point is just to make a tight "seal" with the pancetta around the tenderloin and the plastic wrap will only help to adhere.
Make sure the seal is tight.
I like to twist the ends of the plastic wrap to remove any excess air and create a great seal.
Pop the pancetta-wrapped tenderloin in the fridge for at least 8 hours (I prefer overnight); then, when ready, my technique is preheat your oven to 350-375F; unwrap tenderloin from plastic and place on cookie sheet or baking dish. Pop in oven for 15, flip the tenderloin, and cook for another 15 minutes; remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes covered with foil.
Slice and serve.
You could tie off the tenderloin to hold the pancetta better together, but cutting all of the twine off to me can be a huge pain since the pancetta is so thin. I prefer just doing it simply like this and giving each plate some of the crispy pieces on the side.
The crispy pancetta balanced with the mustard and herbs is simply incredible. Plus, the pork tenderloin stays incredibly moist due to the fat rendering from the pancetta during the cooking process. It is a simple, fun, and yummy weekday or weekend dish that all should take the time to make!
My Mom and Dad went nuts, as did I. It's fun taking the challenge of recreating a favorite, and when it becomes a new family staple, you are filled with a sense of accomplishment. Enjoy!