A recipe for family dinner OR an elegant dinner party
Annette Tomei created this Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin recipe with couples in mind. It was her idea of meal for a springtime date night in, with enough leftovers for the next day. But after making it a few times, I realized that this recipe also ticks all the boxes for a family meal, in that it’s a well-rounded and nutritious dinner that should please even the more finicky in your family–who says no to bacon? But it’s also an elegant enough of a recipe to serve to–and impress–guests. And once again, that bacon factor will come into play.
Why you might want to make this a date night meal
So, about that bacon…A few years ago, after getting some interesting feedback both on this website and at speaking engagements, I did some research in the potential aphrodisiac effects of bacon. I couldn’t find much from a nutritional standpoint about bacon promoting amorous feelings but I did find some interesting anecdotal discoveries. You can learn more about bacon’s potential as an aphrodisiac here.
Of course, I mentioned that Annette intended this Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin recipe to be the centerpiece of a romantic evening for two. For that reason she layered it with more traditionally recognized aphrodisiac ingredients.
There’s ginger and jalapeno, both cherished for their abilities to raise body temperature and make your lips plump up with kissable softness. (Exotic cardamom and allspice are also noted to bringing “heat” to the body.) The recipe also includes oranges, which you’ll find in my list of the 10 Best Foods for Women’s Sexual Health.
And then there’s the apricots. You may know peaches as one of the most celebrated aphrodisiacs of summer. But you may not realize that their cousins, apricots, share many of peaches aphrodisiac attributes. This is largely due to a number of nutrients found in these fuzzy fruits, like vitamin E and beta carotene, as well as iron which is linked with women’s sexual health. (Learn more about iron and women’s sexual health.)
Of course, the fact that the apricots are used to make a sweet and spicy compote, certainly helps promote their aphrodisiac qualities in this case.
As with all of Annette’s recipes, I’m a huge fan of this Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin. The instructions are easy to follow. It uses simple, fresh ingredients and is full of flavor. There’s the sweetness of apricots, the zing of ginger, the direct, in-your-face quality of the salty bacon. The crisp, salty note of bacon, the soft, somewhat bland flavor of the pork and the bright, pure sweetness of cooked apricot is a culinary trifecta.
Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin wine pairing
If you want to enjoy your aphrodisiac dinner with an equally aphrodisiac wine, Annette recommends pairing with Wild Horse Cheval Sauvage Pinot Noir.
This recipe for bacon-wrapped pork loin makes a dinner the whole family will love but it's also a recipe worthy of an elegant dinner party.
- 2 cups julienne of jicama
- 2 oranges segmented, including juice, all pith and membrane removed
- 1 apricot pitted and sliced thin
- 1/2 red bell pepper julienne
- 1- in piece of fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 jalapeño or other chile pepper deseeded and chopped fine, optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pork tenderloin silver skin removed
- 1- in piece of ginger cut into strips, smashed with side of knife to release juices
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 1/8 orange juice and rind (smash with side of knife to release oils then cut into strips)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 2 strips thick-cut bacon we used pecan-wood smoked bacon
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon oil for cooking as needed
- 3 medium apricots pitted and sliced thin, or other seasonal stone fruit
- 1 shallot peeled and sliced thin
- 1- in piece of ginger peeled and finely diced
- 2 tbsp julienne of orange peel as much pith removed as possible
- 1 tsp coconut oil or other cooking oil
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup Pinot Noir or other light bodied red wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl.
- To segment the oranges, cut off each end; rest on one cut end. Remove the skin with a sharp knife by cutting along the line where the flesh meets the pith, following the natural curve of the fruit, working in small strips around the orange from top to bottom. Remove each segment individually from the membrane using a paring knife – hold over a bowl to collect any juice. Squeeze the membrane to extract any remaining juice.
- Season to taste. Chill for approximately 15-30 minutes (up to 6 hours) for flavors to meld.
- Blend all marinade ingredients, coat the pork tenderloin and rest at room temperature for 30-40 minutes, or in refrigerator for up to 2 hours; remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking.
- Remove the pork from the marinade. Season with salt and pepper then wrap with bacon (as much or as little as you like), secure bacon ends with toothpicks, if desired.
- Preheat oven to 375. Heat a heavy sauté pan until very hot. Add a bit of cooking oil (not necessary if using non-stick or well-seasoned pan). Sear the pork on all sides until caramelized. Transfer the pork to a baking sheet. Save the fat, juices, and bits in the pan for use in making the compote. If the fat is pooling, drain some off (ideally, there is very little excess fat but brown – not burned – bits in the pan).
- Finish in oven for approximately 12-18 minutes or until the meat reaches 145 degrees. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. In the meantime, make the compote.
- If possible, use the same pan as you used to cook the pork, with the drippings – heat pan over medium heat. Add the coconut oil.
- Sauté the shallot and ginger until the shallot starts to become tender; add the orange peel and the dry spices. Sauté until lightly caramelized.
- Add the apricots. Cook over medium-high heat until the fruit starts to soften and lightly caramelize.
- Add the wine and use it to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer on low-medium heat until it reaches a desirable consistency.
- Season to taste.
- You can stir in any additional pan drippings from the pork for added flavor.
- This compote can be made vegetarian/vegan by using a fresh pan and not adding any renderings. It can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.
- To plate the dish, place a 1/2 cup portion of jicama salad on the plate. Arrange 2-3 slices of pork tenderloin against it and top with the warm apricot compote. Garnish with chopped cilantro, parsley or chives.
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