Porcini-crusted pork tenderloin.

Porcini-crusted pork tenderloin.

An earthy ingredient makes for a heavenly pork tenderloin

  • By Ellie Krieger Special to The Washington Post
  • Tuesday, March 22, 2016 1:48pm
  • Life

Whirring dried porcini mushrooms in a food processor turns them into a savory seasoning agent that deepens a dish’s flavor and healthfulness by adding a layer of mouth watering meaty taste (umami) and valuable nutrients such as potassium, B vitamins and protective antioxidants.

Pulverized dried mushrooms (porcini or other varieties such as shiitake and chanterelle) can be used the same way you use finely chopped herbs or ground spices: stirred into soups, stews and sauces, for example. Or, as in the accompanying recipe, as a flavorful foundation for a meat or poultry rub.

Here, quick-cooking, lean pork tenderloin is first massaged with tangy Dijon mustard, then encrusted with a mix of the earthy, ground porcini mushrooms, coarsely cracked coriander seed and black peppercorns for a bright, punchy contrast and tingly kick.

The meat is seared in a skillet so it is beautifully browned, with a slight char, so the outside turns into a boldly flavorful crust. The tenderloin finishes cooking in the oven until it is just blush-pink and juicy in the center.

Porcini-crusted pork tenderloin

1 teaspoon coriander seed

½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns

½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)

2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard

1 tablespoon olive oil

Flaked sea salt, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the coriander seed and black peppercorns in a sealable plastic bag and crush them with a mallet or rolling pin until coarsely ground. Place the porcini mushrooms in the small bowl of a food processor or a mini-chopper, and process until finely ground. (You should have about ¼ cup; it’s okay if there are some slightly larger pieces remaining.) Add the coriander mixture to the porcini mushrooms and stir to incorporate.

Trim the silver skin and excess fat from the exterior of the tenderloin; pat the meat dry. Spread it evenly with the mustard, then sprinkle with the porcini mixture so the meat is evenly coated.

Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the tenderloin; sear it for 2 minutes per side, turning it as you work, then transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast for 18 to 20 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 145 degrees (medium-rare) or 155 degrees (medium).

Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before cutting it into thin slices. Season lightly with the flaked salt.

4 servings. Nutrition per serving: 200 calories, 27 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar

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