I’ll admit it: vegetables are not my favorite part of the meal. I don’t hate them, but they’re certainly not my favorite. As a kid, most of the vegetables I ate came in a blend of green beans, corn, cubes of carrot, and lima beans in a bag from my freezer. To say we didn’t start off on the right foot is an understatement. Once I did move on from the freezer section veggies, I ate veggies in a plain, boring, steamed fashion. Did I mention they were boring? I found myself eating vegetables as a part of a meal just because they were the healthy part of it, chewing for long, discontented periods of time. One of my least favorites:
Although I did not have the greatest relationship with veggies, I wanted to know how I could make them better. I grew up watching Julia Child and Jaques Pepin on PBS. I marveled at how they could make veggies look so delicious (I mean, look at how much BUTTER). I couldn’t wait to start cooking for myself.
I’m happy to announce that ever since I have started cooking for myself when I was 19, vegetables and I are on amicable terms. So much in fact, that I feel as though a meal is incomplete without some form of vegetable as a component, just like in this meal: a delicious herb and mustard rubbed pork tenderloin on top of a rich cauliflower purée. The juices from the tenderloin drip wonderfully down into the purée to add even more flavor.
Herb and Mustard Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 heaping tablespoons of mustard (I used Kozlik’s Amazing Maple mustard for some balancing sweetness)
- salt to taste
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
- Place a cast iron skillet on medium high heat with a splash of olive oil. Let the pan and the oil get hot.
- While you wait for the skillet to heat up, pat the pork tenderloin dry.
- Combine all your spices and mix into the mustard, creating a paste to rub evenly onto the tenderloin.
- When the skillet is hot, place the tenderloin inside to sear, 5 minutes on each side.
- Once seared, put into the oven to finish cooking, for 20 minutes.
- After it is done, let the meat sit on a board for at least 10 minutes to keep the tenderloin moist and juicy (this is IMPORTANT, please don’t skip this step, no matter how tempting. TRUST ME).
The secret ingredient for this delicious dish is mayo! I use an olive oil based mayo to let the cauliflower retain some of it’s healthiness.
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of butter
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 heaping tablespoons of olive oil mayonnaise
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place a sauté pan on medium heat.
- Melt the butter and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Add cauliflower and garlic. Cook until both are just browned.
- Add the chicken stock and cover the pot. Cook with the lid on until the cauliflower is tender enough to easily pierce with a fork, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the lid carefully and add all the mayo, salt, and pepper.
- Use a hand blender to purée the cauliflower to your desired consistency.
If you want to get them served at the same time, make sure you start with the tenderloin. Once it is seared and placed in the oven, start working on the cauliflower. It will give you enough time to finish the purée as the meat is resting so that the cauliflower can be freshly made and hot once you’re ready to serve. To serve, put a layer of the cauliflower purée, topped with a few slices of the tenderloin. Use any juices from the tenderloin that accumulated on the board to pour over the tenderloin and purée.