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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Spicy Pork Tenderloin with Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Spicy Pork Tenderloin with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
 Spicy Pork Tenderloin with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
by Victoria Challancin 

I was traveling in the states all last week and missed getting out a post.  Wanting to give you something yummy to chew on, I found this photo in my files of some delicious pork I prepared in mid-March.  Because it was warm then, I chose not to make the roasted sweet potatoes that go with the recipe, but I did include them in the original recipe below.  And while this photo doesn't do the dish justice, the flavors were sensational and the leftovers fantastic in sandwiches.  As for the vinaigrette...well, it would be perfect on almost anything from seafood to chicken to vegetables or salad.  What's not to love about hazelnuts?

Variation:  For those of us experiencing warmer weather now, this would be fantastic served room temperature over a salad of mixed greens and citrus or mango.

Fun Facts about Hazelnuts
  • The Latin name for hazelnut is Corylus avellana
  • Because the earliest ripening date for hazelnuts in England is August 22, which is St. Philibert's Day, hazelnuts may have been called "Filberts" after him
  • Of course, I have also read that St. Philibert, a 7th century Frankish abbot, celebrates his feast day on August 20th
  • "Hazel" is the older European name; "Filbert" is much newer
  • Others say the the name originated from the word for "full beard," which refers to the husk, or beard, that entirely covers some varieties
  • Hazelnut trees can produce for 80 years or more
  • The Greek physician Dioscorides praised the healthy properties of hazelnuts ore than 1,800 years ago  (he suggested pounding them with honey for coughs and mixing with black pepper to cure a cold)
  • As early as 2800 B.C. in China hazelnuts were revered, being one of the five sacred nourishments God bestowed on human beings
  • The hazelnut is unique because it blooms and pollinates in the middle of winter with the pollinated seeds lying dormant until June, when the nut begins to form
  • Hazelnut harvest is late September or October after the nuts fall to the ground
  • One pound of shelled nuts equals about 3 3/4 cups
  • In antiquity, hazelnuts mashed with figs or raisins were used as a paste to put on scorpion stings
  • Dioscorides also suggested that a paste could be made to place on bald spots to encourage hair growth
  • Hazelnuts are nutritious:  high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin E
  • Hazelnuts are high in protein and monounsaturated fats
  • Hazelnuts are also a source of cancer-fighting antioxidants
  • Most of the hazelnuts grown in the U.S. are grown in Oregon, where the hazelnut is the state tree
  • France was the first European country to grow the hazelnut and the French introduced them into the U.S.

Recipe:  Spicy Pork Tenderloin with Hazelnut Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon finely chopped dried orange peel
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ground coriander 
1 tablespoon ground sumac
3 pounds pork loin or 2 tenderloins
3 pounds small sweet potatoes, unpeeled, quartered lengthwise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 rosemary sprigs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup hazelnut oil
1/4 cup grapeseed oil

In a 2-gallon resealable plastic bag, combine the orange peel, smoked paprika, coriander, and sumac.  Add the pork, seal the bag, and turn to coat the meat thoroughly with the spices.  Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the rosemary;  season with salt and pepper.  Roast the potatoes, turning once, until tender and lightly browned, aout 40 minutes.  Drizzle with the melted butter; keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olie oil.  Scrape most of the spice rub off the pork and season the meat with salt and pepper.  Add the pork to the skillet and sear over moderately high heat, turning, until lightly browned all over, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 145 degrees.  Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board and let stand for 10 minutes.

S[read the hazelnuts in a pie plate and toast until fragrant, about 12 minutes.  Rub the hazelnuts together in a clean kitchen towel to remove the skins.  Finely chop.

In a small bowl, mix the vinegar with the honey and the mustard.  Whisk in the hazelnut and grapeseed oils, stir in the hazelnuts, and season with salt and pepper.

Slice the pork on the diagonal.  Arrange the slices on a platter along with the sweet potatoes and rosemary sprigs.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.

Parting Shot:  Paris, May 2013


Joan Nova said...

I'm a big fan of using nuts as an ingredient in a variety of dishes but I don't think I've ever added them to a vinaigrette. This looks wonderful!

Eha said...

What an exciting and 'useful' post!! First the lesson on hazelnuts [always did wonder what filberts were :) !], then the 'yummy' marinade for the pork and last a new vinaigrette for me - thanks! Living mostly alone, cannot see why I can't use other pork cuts to suit and that vinaigrette will be served with more than one dish! Love your endnote: guess they could not quite print a picture of van Gogh, could they :D !

Joanne T Ferguson said...

G'day! I am nuts about nuts, TRUE!
Love your fun food facts as I always enjoy learning something new!
Cheers! Joanne

Hotly Spiced said...

I love the look of this pork dish, Victoria. I've never had pork with hazelnuts, especially not in a vinaigrette. I can imagine this being really good on a warm summer's evening served with a lovely salad xx

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Your facts are always so interesting! And thanks for leaving us with something delicious while you are away Victoria! :D

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Victoria, you are too critical of yourself, your photo is great. It is difficult to photograph a meal that is brown but you succeeded. Your pork sounds wonderful.

Victoria Challancin said...

Thanks, Karen--I needed that. But wait til you see an upcoming Pana Cotta on a white place. I have outdone myself with silliness. said...

If you tell me you were in New York, you will be in big problemas with me...This vinaigrette sounds amaizing.

Alexander Melvin said...

Nice blog..! I really loved reading through this article... Thanks for sharing such an amazing post with us and keep blogging...Hazelnut oil, pressed from hazelnuts, is strongly flavored and used for cooking. I always used to order hazelnuts online from good brands.