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THE CONFIDENT COOK

Recipe: You couldn’t ask for an easier party dish than prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloins

Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe

By Sally Pasley Vargas Globe Correspondent 

Lean, slender pork tenderloins, about 2½ inches in diameter — not to be confused with the larger pork loin — are famous for their fine texture and ease of preparation. But they benefit from a boost in flavor and seasoning, here with dried and fresh herbs, apples, and a blanket of prosciutto.

Shopping for this dish will give you an opportunity to build confidence. When you step up to the deli counter to order the prosciutto, which is cured pork that many people want so thin you can see through it, explain what you’re doing with it and ask for thin slices, but not so thin that they’ll fall apart when you use them to wrap the meat.

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Under the prosciutto is a pocket of sliced apples, slipped beneath the cured pork and hardly visible, but a nice surprise when you bite into them. Wrap the tenderloins the day before, or early in the day, refrigerate them, and then roast them beside a tray of sweet potatoes. You couldn’t ask for an easier party dish. And here’s something else that will build your confidence in the kitchen: Serve something that’s bound to be a hit. SALLY PASLEY VARGAS

Pork tenderloin wrapped in prosciutto with roasted sweet potatoes

Serves 6

Roast the potatoes at the same time as the pork so they’re both done around the same time.

Oil (for the baking sheets)
2pork tenderloins (about 2½ pounds total)
4tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1tablespoon dried thyme
2tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
3tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
8ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1cooking apple (Cortland, Ida Red, Golden Delicious, Ginger Gold, Jonagold, Rome Beauty), peeled, halved, cored, and cut into paper-thin slices
4sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½-inch-thick slices

1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Brush 2 rimmed baking sheets with oil. Cut 10 to 12 lengths of kitchen twine, each 12 inches.

2. Pat the tenderloins dry with paper towels. Rub all over with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. If there is a thin tail of meat on one end, fold it under the loin so that the meat is an even thickness from end to end.

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3. On a cutting board, pile the dried thyme, fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage. Mix together and spread on the board. Roll the tenderloins in the herbs to coat them all over. Set them to one side of the cutting board, brush away the excess herbs and sprinkle them on the meat.

4. On the cutting board, spread half the prosciutto slices, overlapping them slightly, in a row that is the same length as one of the tenderloins. Place overlapping apple slices in a line along the center (they should be thin enough so that they bend easily). Place a tenderloin on top of the apples and fold the prosciutto over to encase the meat. Gently press the prosciutto to mold it to the tenderloin. Turn the meat over so the apples are on top. Slip the kitchen twine under the meat at 3-inch intervals, and tie securely. Place on the baking sheet. Stuff and wrap the remaining tenderloin in the same way and set on the baking sheet.

5. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin registers 140 degrees for medium rare and 145 degrees for medium. Cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, on the second baking sheet, mound the potatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and toss with your hands, rubbing the oil over the potatoes. Spread them out in one layer on the sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Serve with the tenderloins.


Sally Pasley Vargas can be reached at sally.p.vargas@gmail.com