Hello and Welcome to Djalali Cooks! For today’s Sunday Supper, I was in the mood for something like pork chops and applesauce. So I settled on pork tenderloin stuffed with prosciutto, feta and olive tapenade. To go along side, one of my favorite salads – thinly sliced apple and fennel with onions, dressed in olive oil and lemon, with a splash of apple cider vinegar. Not quite the ol’ pork chops and apple sauce, but just as tasty, and maybe a little more exciting! Are you ready? Let’s get to it!
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Apple Fennel Salad
I have never stuffed a pork tenderloin before. I am not sure why I was intimidated by it though – I suppose I thought it seemed fussy, I guess? Well, it was pretty simple and didn’t require anything fancy. I wanted to stuff it with a few fool-proof ingredients though; to give this pork tenderloin richness, and plenty of flavor. So we have prosciutto slices, feta and one of my favorite ways to add flavor – olives!
The apple fennel salad is also very simple. It’s a light and crunchy salad; the sweetness from the apples and the anise-flavored freshness of the fennel blend perfectly with the bright tang of lemon and apple cider vinegar. It really is a nice compliment to the salty and rich stuffed pork tenderloin.
Let’s start with the tenderloin. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take your tenderloin and slice off the silver skin, try to avoid cutting off much of the meat as you slice. A sharp knife will make this easier to get up under the thin silver skin and make a smooth, shallow cut. Once you’ve removed the silver skin, slice down the center of the tenderloin, lengthwise, making sure not to cut all the way through. Then, open it like a book and either place it in a Ziplock or lay a couple pieces of plastic wrap over it to fully cover it.
Now, we are going to flatten this tenderloin with a meat pounder, or if you’re like me and you don’t have one of those, use the flat side of your cast iron skillet. Make sure you have the tenderloin on a sturdy surface that can take a bit of whacking. Give it quite a few whacks, evenly over the surface until it flattens out and is about 1/2 inch thick.
Stuffing and “Rolling” the Tenderloin
Now we will layer on the stuffing. Have kitchen twine cut into 6″ pieces or about 6-8 toothpicks on standby.
Now for the hardest part, ideally you want to tightly roll this sucker. I kinda filled mine too much for that. Unwilling to remove filling (Lol), I brought the two sides together to enclose the stuffing. I found that if I brought the two sides together, over the filling and worked to secure it from the middle outwards, it stayed together more easily so I could fasten the ties without it flopping open and spilling out the stuffing.
Once I got all the ties in place, in between each tie, I carefully tucked one side of the meat under the other to help close up the gaps and mimic a “roll”. At this point I only lightly salted the outside of the tenderloin. Get an oven safe pan hot over medium heat with about 2 tablespoons of neutral, high smoke point oil, like grapeseed or canola.
Once the oil is shimmering and hot, lay the stuffed pork tenderloin in, knot-side down (or toothpick-side down). Let it get a golden brown sear before turning it (about 3 minutes). Keep turning and searing until all sides have a golden brown sear.
Don’t worry about it expanding and leaving string indentations, we are going to slice it into medallions when it’s done anyway. After it’s seared on all sides, give it another sprinkling of Kosher salt and several cranks of fresh cracked black pepper and place the whole thing in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Until an instant read thermometer reads 145 degrees in the thickest part of the meat.
Apple Fennel Salad
While the tenderloin is in the oven, we can prepare the salad. Slice one apple on a mandoline set to 1/8″ thickness. Work around the apple to avoid the core. Then slice the larger apple slices in half. Slice the thick stem end off the fennel bulb with a knife and then stem-side down, slice the fennel bulb on the mandoline set to 1/8″ thickness. Do the same with half an onion.
Combine the apple slices, fennel slices and onion slices in a large bowl and add two tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
Then drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar and toss with your hands to combine. If you like, add some of the green fennel tops to the salad for a little color and mix with your hands.
When the tenderloin is ready, remove it from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then use kitchen shears to snip the kitchen twine, or remove the toothpicks. Slice the tenderloin into 1″ thick medallions.
Serve it up!
Use a fish spatula to lift the whole stuffed pork tenderloin and transfer to the center of a serving plate.
Give the Apple Fennel Salad one last good mix with your hands. Then, with your hands or with tongs, plate the salad along both sides of the tenderloin slices on the serving plate, and sprinkle some flaky sea salt (like Jacobsen’s) over the salad.
Ok so, even though my stuffed pork tenderloin is not tightly rolled, it didn’t fall apart and I didn’t lose any of the stuffing in the searing and cooking process. When it came out, there were areas where the seam opened up to reveal the stuffing, but ultimately it worked out. The meat was juicy and tender, perfectly seasoned with the prosciutto, feta and olives. In fact, I will say that the areas where the roll opened and exposed the prosciutto were my favorite parts because the prosciutto got crispy which added a delicious textural contrast to the creamy feta and meatiness of the tenderloin. A success!
We’ve come to the end of another Sunday Supper, I hope you all give this Stuffed Pork Tenderloin and Apple Fennel Salad a try! They’re great together, but would also be great on their own. I think the Apple Fennel Salad would also go well with my recipe for Smoked Meatloaf and Cauliflower Mashies – what a nice brightness it would bring to that super savory, rich dish!
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Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Apple Fennel Salad
Savory, juicy and rich! Pork Tenderloin stuffed with prosciutto, feta and olives. Accompanied by a light, bright Apple Fennel Salad.
- Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
- 1 1/2-lb. Pork Tenderloin, silver skin removed
- 3-4 slices Prosciutto
- 1/3 cup Crumbled Feta
- 2 tbsp. Olive Tapenade or sliced olives (Chalkidiki and Kalamata)
- Kosher salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp. Grapeseed or Canola oil
- Apple Fennel Salad
- 1 Red Apple (Pink Lady is my preference), sliced on a mandoline slicer to 1/8" thickness
- 1 Fennel Bulb, sliced on a mandoline slicer to 1/8" thickness
- 1/2 Yellow Onion, sliced on a mandoline slicer to 1/8" thickness
- 2 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1-2 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 Splash Apple Cider Vinegar
- Green Fennel Tops, chopped
- Flaky Sea Salt (like Jacobsen's) for garnish, to taste
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and have several 6" pieces of kitchen twine or toothpicks on standby.
Slice the tenderloin down the center lengthwise, do not cut all the way through.
Open the tenderloin like a book and slide it into a Ziplock, or lay a few sheets of plastic wrap over the meat.
Use a meat pounder or the flat side of a cast iron skillet to pound the meat flat to about 1/2" thick. Remove plastic, or take out of Ziplock bag.
Lay 3-4 slices of prosciutto to cover the entire flat surface of the tenderloin.
Line the crumbled feta down the center.
Dollop the olive tapenade on top of the feta.
Ideally, tightly roll the tenderloin starting on one of the long sides to create a jelly roll-style roll and fasten by trussing with the pieces of twine, or with toothpicks.
Lightly season the whole tenderloin roll with Kosher salt.
Using an oven safe skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of grapeseed or canola oil over medium heat. When oil is shimmery and hot, lay the rolled tenderloin into the skillet, seam-side down.
Sear on all sides until the whole exterior is golden brown. About 3-4 minutes each side.
Season the whole seared tenderloin with fresh cracked black pepper and another light sprinkling of Kosher salt.
Place in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads 145 degrees in the thickest part of the meat.
Once out of the oven, let the meat rest for 10 minutes. Then remove twine or toothpicks and slice into 1" thick medallions.
Apple Fennel Salad
Combine apples, fennel, onions in a large bowl.
Add lemon juice, olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Add chopped green fennel tops. Mix with your hands to lightly coat everything in the dressing.
Transfer salad, by hand or with tongs to a serving plate with the tenderloin slices.
Sprinkle with flaky sea salt just before service.
If tightly rolling the tenderloin isn't working out for you, don't panic! Just refer to the body of this post to understand how one can make this work without having that perfect, tight roll.