Herbed and Grilled Mediterranean Pork Tenderloin and Veggies

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.

Right off the grill. Look at that bark!

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.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Crustless Summer Squash, Zucchini and Tomato “Pie”

tart1

A savory slice is oh so nice!

What a couple of weeks it has been…

This is our tree, you can see how the lightning circled it before it jumped to the chimney cap.

This is our tree, you can see how the lightning circled it before it jumped to the chimney cap.

When lightning strikes it does such weird things. Our experience has run the gamut from the usual burnout of electronics which one would expect, to the current running through the metal spines of a silk lampshade and tearing the silk out of it…which one would not expect! We’ll be repairing, cleaning soot and painting here for the next few months, and we were so lucky it wasn’t any worse.

Our chimney...8 feet of it is on the ground!

Our chimney…8 feet of it is on the ground! We sleep with our heads right next to where the chimney meets the top roof line.

Life goes on and mercifully we are here to experience and talk about it. And eventually you get back into the kitchen again and things begin to feel more normal.

Layers, layers and more layers are the key to this crustless pie.

Layers, layers and more layers are the key to this crustless pie.

Today I’m sharing a tasty and easy dish using some of summer’s bounty. This squash, zucchini and tomato pie is crustless, which makes it lighter than a traditional tart or pie, and perfect to serve as an entree with a salad or as a side dish for a meal. The “crust” in this dish is made by the slight caramelization of the bottom and sides of the squash in the oiled skillet, and the melted cheese. It holds together very well and has a wonderful, fresh flavor. I do love squash and am always looking for ways to feature it when it’s in season, and this little dish made me very happy…plus I got to use my cast iron skillet, which is always a bonus!

Pan pie, c'est tout!

Pan pie, c’est tout!

I hope you all have been doing well while I was away, and that you had wonderful and relaxing weekends and holidays. I am slowly getting around to visit all of you and catch up, so bear with me. Have a great week, and happy eating.

Crustless Summer Squash, Zucchini and Tomato Pie
Serves 4

This pie was inspired by my Squash and Tomato Galette from last year, but is much quicker and lighter because there’s no crust!

1 lb. yellow summer (I used crookneck) squash, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced
3-4 roma tomatoes, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
zest of one lemon
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sprigs of fresh basil for edible garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in the bottom of a 10-inch cast iron or ovenproof skillet and grease the bottom and sides well.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese, the lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, basil and egg until well blended.

Place 1/2 of the yellow squash slices into the bottom of the pan in a single layer, slightly overlapping each other. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, then dollop 1/3 of the cheese and herb mixture over the layer of squash, spreading it slightly to cover. Next, layer 1/2 of the roma tomato slices over the squash layer and sprinkle with 1/2 of the minced garlic, a pinch of salt and some pepper, and drizzle over 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil. Make a single layer of the zucchini over the tomato layer, overlapping the slices. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and pepper, dollop 1/3 of the cheese and herb mixture on top, spreading as before.

Make one more layer of the tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil, then top with a final layer of yellow squash mixed with any remaining zucchini, salt, pepper and the remaining cheese and herb mixture. Sprinkle the top with the remaining parmesan cheese and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 35 – 40 minutes, watching closely, until the top is browned, the whole is bubbling and the vegetables are tender when a knife is inserted through to the bottom. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut into four wedges and serve with a sprig of fresh basil on top.