A thought on quality vs costs - Pork Tenderloin with White Truffle Risotto
In some way, I'm trying to make a small statement here. This dish honestly turned out to be somewhat of a surprise and it led Yoko to convince me to write a bit about the amount of money spent at a grocery store compared to the quality and price of a dinner you'd expect in a nice restaurant.
First of all I have to note, that I'm in the Los Angeles area right now. The price comparisons are therefore based on what I'm familiar with in and around LA. Also, my apologies to all of you who don't have a Trader Joe's grocery store near you as i'm making quite a few references to this great place. But you'd still be able to get all the ingredients somewhere else.
Without being modest at all, I have to admit that this dish turned out amazing! And I would love for all of you to repeat this dish at home and tell me what you think. Let's look at the ingredients with prices:
for 2 people:
Ingredients (click to enlarge):
$ 16.00 for two people with wine? With candle light at home romantically served with the music of your choice in the background? For me, this beats a restaurant experience, where i would pay for the same dish about $ 20 - $ 25 per person, plus wine $ 8 per glass, plus tip for the waiter, adding up to a total of about $ 70 - $ 80! And there's another difference: it wouldn't taste as good in the restaurant and at home you're getting a whole bottle of wine for the same price as one glass in the restaurant!
$ 16 or $ 80 ?
Let's go for the $ 16 version and start cooking!
Preheat your oven to a low temperature of about 190 F.
Rub in the fig granule spice all around the whole piece of pork tenderloin. As I've mentioned on the shopping list, you can email me (info under my profile) and I'll be happy to ship you some of that exotic spice as it's only available at Surfas and they don't even seem to list it on their website for online ordering.
In a non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Once it starts smoking a bit, put the pork into the skillet, reduce the heat to medium to not burn the meat, and grill the tenderloin all around so it has a nice dark-brown color. The pork is still undercooked in the center. This is where the oven with the low temperature takes over.
Wrap the pork in aluminum foil and put it into the oven. Now it almost doesn't matter, how long the pork will be in the oven. Because of the low temperature, the meat will cook enough but it won't dry out and it will get very tender! Depending on the thickness, the pork should be in the oven for a total of at least 30 minutes.
At this point, it would be time to open the wine since it should breathe a bit before drinking! Especially this italian wine, the Ripasso, which is a full-bodied red wine, likes to have some air first. The best way to let a good wine breathe, is a decanter.
Start preparing the risotto about 20 minutes before the meat is finished in the oven. Follow the basic risotto making procedure the way I explained it under Basic Risotto Recipe. At the very end, mix in about 1-2 teaspoons of the white truffle oil. Stir and taste it. If you prefer a stronger truffle taste, add a bit more of the oil.
For this particular dish, it would be nice to serve it on preheated plates. You can add plates into your low-temperature oven as well, to heat them up (for about 5 minutes or so). Just make sure they won't get too hot, otherwise they might break!
Remove the pork tenderloin from the oven. Make sure you won't waste the juice that has accumulated in the aluminum foil. Slice the meat with a very sharp knife into about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices. Ideally, the pork should still have a slight redness in the center. Serve on plates and pour over the juice from the aluminum foil. Serve the risotto on the plates and decorate (optional) with a twig of rosemary. Serve and eat at once with a nice glass of Ripasso!
I found that combination (the slight sweetness of the fig granule spice with the pork, the truffle in the risotto and this particular red wine) to be a great success! I hope you're as lucky as I was and it turns out well for you too. This beats any restaurant for price and quality! Please let me know what you think and post your comments.