Summer’s end is approaching and the arrival of fresh figs in the market is the inspiration for this dish of Roasted Figs and Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary.
Have you ever noticed how the light changes two or three hours before sunset? The shadows have not yet begun to length but the sun has passed the meridian and its position lower in the sky alters the way the light hits objects in the distance. A golden glow, softer than the harsh rays of midday, is imparted to the world around us. It is my favorite time of day. A brief hour of peace before the activity of the evening.
I often think that September is the late afternoon of the year’s day. In my garden the crops are approaching their end although not there yet. There are still tomatoes to harvest and jalapenos to pick, but my basil is getting leggy and I have planted my fall lettuce. Brightly colored peaches and berries are disappearing from the farmer’s market, replaced by the deep purple of muscadine grapes and rich red of the early apples.
The day’s high temperature are not quite so high and the evenings just a little cooler. Autumn is not here yet but it is on the horizon.
All of which means figs are in season! Mission Figs with their deep purple skin are the most common fig one can buy here. But my heart belongs to the green figs which grow with abundance in the gardens in my neighborhood. Once ripe, they droop on the branches and, cut into, have a bright red interior that adds color as well as flavor to salads and fruit plates. They also pair beautifully with roasted pork and chicken.
This recipe for Roasted Figs and Pork Tenderloin makes an easy (and elegant) meal for two which can easily be increased.
Fresh rosemary is finely chopped and mixed with brown sugar, chopped garlic, chili sauce and a little salt, then rubbed into the tenderloin an hour or so before you want to cook it.
When you are ready, heat some oil in an ovenproof skillet and brown the meat well on all sides.
While the meat is browning, toss the figs in a little balsamic vinegar and oil.
Once the meat is browned, add the figs to the skillet along with a sprig or two of rosemary.
Put the skillet in the oven and roast it for about 20 minutes. You are looking for a medium to medium-well cook, around 140-145 degrees. Check the tenderloin at around 15 minutes to make sure it doesn’t overcook.
Once the meat is done, remove it from the pan and let it rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprigs from the skillet and discard them.
Slice the pork into medallions and arrange the meat on a platter. Add any juices which came from the roast when you carved it to skillet with the figs and add a little more balsamic. If there are no juices, add 1-2 tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan. Reduce the sauce if needed then add the figs to the platter and drizzle the meat with the pan sauce.
AUTUMN FIGS AND PORK TENDERLOIN
- One 1 lb pork tenderloin
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
- 2- 3 whole sprigs rosemary
- 1 tsp chili sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 8-10 fresh figs
- Mix together the brown sugar, garlic, minced rosemary and salt.
- Pat the rub all over the pork tenderloin. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to eight hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Place the figs in a bowl and toss in 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar.
- Heat canola oil to a shimmer in an oven proof skillet. Put the pork in the pan and brown well on all sides.
- Add the figs and the rosemary sprigs to the pan.
- Place the pan in the hot oven and roast to 140-145 degrees, about 20 minutes.
- When the pork is done, remove it from the pan and let rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes.
- Slice the pork into 1” medallions and arrange on a platter.
- Add any meat juices to the pan with the figs along with one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Add a teaspoon or two of water if needed. Deglaze the pan over a low heat.
- Arrange the figs on the platter with the meat and drizzle with the pan juices.