Dinner for 10: Pork Tenderloin, Green Mashed Potatoes & Roasted Asparagus
As I mentioned in my previous post, we had a dinner party for 10 last night — 4 other couples from business school. I was excited to host so that we didn’t feel rushed and could catch up more easily than in a restaurant. But I didn’t want to spend my entire Saturday cooking so I took a look for simple recipes that I could largely prep in the morning and assemble and cook in the evening.
I inadvertently assembled a very healthy menu — spiced pork tenderloin with homemade honey mustard from Food & Wine, a healthy version of mashed potatoes from Mark Bittman, and roasted asparagus.
The pork was very simple to prepare. After seasoning the tenderloins with kosher salt and pepper, I coated the pork in a mixture of mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes. The mustard sauce was simply a combo of two types of mustard, honey, and salt and pepper. Pork tenderloin is very lean so be careful not to overcook it.
We’re not big potato eaters in our house but I was intrigued by Mark Bittman’s Green Mashed Potato recipe published a couple of weeks ago. You mash boiled potatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper and then add cooked dandelion greens – one of the first greens of spring. The dandelion greens only cook for a minute or two in the same water as the potatoes. Lastly, you bake the potato-greens mixture with some breadcrumbs on top and a drizzle of olive oil. Because you are incorporating the greens into the potatoes and you’re not using cream or butter, each bite is less heavy than typical mashed potatoes.
I also roasted several bunches of asparagus tossed in olive oil and seasoned with kosher salt and pepper. I usually roast asparagus at 400 degrees but the pork need to cook at 375 so I just cooked the asparagus for a little longer than I typically do.
My friend Jess brought a delicious salad, Suzanne brought the dessert, and Vern and Cori each brought wine. It was a great evening and I think everyone enjoyed the meal. Plus, I loved cooking with a couple of the early signs of spring — dandelion greens and asparagus.
Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Honey Mustard
Food & Wine
- 3 tablespoons mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Two 14-ounce pork tenderloins
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup grainy Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup traditional Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup honey
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a mortar, lightly crush the mustard and fennel seeds with the crushed red pepper. Set the pork tenderloins on a rimmed baking sheet and season them with salt and pepper. Spread the crushed spices on the baking sheet and roll the pork tenderloins in the crushed spices to coat them.
Roast the pork tenderloins for about 20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each tenderloin registers 145°. Transfer the pork tenderloins to a cutting board and let them rest for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix the mustards with the honey and season with salt and pepper. Slice the pork 1/2 inch thick and serve with the honey mustard.
Green Mashed Potatoes
- 2 large starchy or all-purpose potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 pound dandelion or other greens, washed and trimmed of thick stems
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup homemade bread crumbs
Put potatoes in a large, deep pot and cover them with cold water. Add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cook until soft but not falling apart, 15 to 30 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain; meanwhile, add greens to water and cook for about 1 minute. Rinse under cold water. Drain well, then chop.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Rice potatoes, run them through a food mill, or mash them with a fork or potato masher, adding enough olive oil to moisten them well. Mash in the greens, adding more olive oil as needed. Sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper.
Put mixture in an ovenproof dish and top with bread crumbs. Drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake until bread crumbs are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve hot or warm.