It’s been a few years now since my husband and I last traveled abroad, but the memories and flavors of our favorite places along the Mediterranean Sea have stayed with us.
The colors, sights, sounds and tastes of the islands of Greece and specifically Crete, the farms and farmer’s markets in the south of France with their beautiful fresh-picked produce and the many small food purveyors tucked into the hillsides of Monaco, have informed my palette and influenced my cooking. The simple and inventive use of fresh herbs combined with lean proteins and colorful vegetables make Mediterranean flavors easy to replicate and always delicious to eat. A bonus is that eating a Mediterranean style diet is also very healthful.
With summer upon us, we fire up the grill more regularly, even during a busy work week. This is one of those “recipes” that is easy to pull together and is perfect for a busy week night. Just coarsely chop your herbs and mix with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic for the marinade, slice and chunk your veg, pop the pork tenderloin in one plastic freezer bag and the veg in another and divide your marinade between the two. Seal each bag and massage the marinade into the ingredients, then pop the bags into the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours. Grill and eat.
Simple. Delicious. Summer.
The herb-centric marinade creates a fantastically herby bark on the pork tenderloin and adds loads of complimentary flavor to the veggies. Leftovers are wonderful, too. The pork makes great sandwiches and pairs well with cheeses of any type. Thin slices of pork topping a light spread of goat cheese and a touch of fig or onion jam on crostini make a quick and lovely appetizer. Extra veggies and pork can be served over greens with a light vinaigrette to make a savory salad. And the list goes on…
On your next busy night, try making this Herbed and Grilled Mediterranean Pork and Veggies, pour yourself a glass of Provençal rosé or a Greek Retsina, sit back on your deck or porch with the stars and enjoy.
Herbed and Grilled Mediterranean Pork and Veggies
Serves 4-6 (with leftovers at our house)
1 1/2 – 2 lbs. whole pork tenderloins
2 pints grape tomatoes, washed and left whole
2 large zucchini, washed, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2″ chunks (you can use a mixture of yellow squash and zucchini)
8-10 mixed sweet mini peppers, washed seeded and cut into 1 1/2″ chunks (these usually come in a package but you can sub 2-3 multi-colored bell peppers)
1 orange or red bell pepper, washed, seeded and cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
1 red onion, peeled, trimmed, halved and those halves quartered
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, divided
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme, divided
3 large cloves of garlic, minced, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2-gallon sized zip lock food bags
Grill basket or aluminum foil for the veggies
Place the grape tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and onion in one ziplock bag. Place the pork tenderloins into a second, separate ziplock bag from the veggies.
Place one half of the rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil into each of the two bags containing the veggies and the pork. Seal each one and then gently toss and massage in the herbs, oil and seasonings with the contents of each bag until well coated. Place the bags into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours prior to grilling.
Heat the grill to medium high. Remove the veggies from the ziplock bag and place into a grill basket, evenly spaced, and securing the top part of the basket (if it has one) tightly so that the veg will stay secure when flipped. If your basket is an open veggie grill basket, then just place the veggies in the basket, or you can make a tray out of aluminum foil to grill the veggies in. (If using aluminum foil, make sure you use heavy duty and use two layers so that the tray can be lifted off the grill. Poke about 10 small holes into the bottom of your foil tray to allow extra moisture to drip off, otherwise your veggies will stew in their own juices instead of grilling). Place the veggies on the grill and cook until tender and slightly charred. Cooking times will vary, but it takes about 30-35 minutes on our charcoal grill alternating covered and open, and flipping the veggies once at the halfway point. If you use an open basket or a foil tray, stir the veggies frequently to help them release moisture through the holes and cook evenly until done.
Just before the halfway point of cooking your veggies, remove the pork tenderloins from the ziplock bag and place them on the grill. Grill the tenderloins until desired degree of doneness, turning occasionally, about 16-20 minutes. When done, remove the tenderloins from the grill and allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing. Slice the pork into 1/4″ medallions and serve with the veggies.
Beautiful. We’ve yet made it to Greece. We’ve covered all of western Europe except for Portugal, but Greece is next. Your pork looks scrumptious.
LikeLiked by 1 person
You must go to Greece, Mimi. It’s such a beautiful place and the people are so warm. The islands are magical, but I think we loved western Crete the best. Thanks for your kind words! The pork is really yummy if I do say so myself. 😀
LikeLiked by 1 person
We definitely well. For now, I’ll just have to make this pork!
LikeLiked by 1 person
The Mediterranean pork looks absolutely wonderful, we just love grilled vegetables. We also grill a lot in the summer.
We love pork tenderloin but I have a difficult time finding unplumped versions in the US (plumping is when they brine it in some saline solution to make it bigger than it is—it’s mind boggling that it’s allowed by the FDA). Here in Canada the CFIA (FDA) rules that if the meat is plumped, you must say it is “seasoned” on the package and they must state the meat protein percentage (usually around 14-17%!) I’ve always stayed away from that type of meat product because even when I didn’t know what ‘seasoned’ really meant, I knew that like to add my own ‘seasonings’.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi Eva, yes I do not purchase prepackaged pork tenderloin for that very reason. I have a couple of sources for tenderloin via a butcher so that I know it hasn’t been plumped or pre-seasoned. But I also won’t buy it if it has been fed any hormones or injected with any kind of antibiotic. I also won’t buy it if it’s from Canada, simply because we do have different requirements and often that isn’t revealed on imported meat of any kind from any place. What I’ve seen here from Canada has been taken out of its package and plopped down in a butcher’s case with a sign that only says it’s from Canada. That’s not good enough. It’s really sad that we have to be so vigilant about so much of our food in this country. Now they use the word “natural” like it means no processing and “organic” like it means no pesticide or GMO, but that simply isn’t true.