Pork tenderloin is both tender and lean, so take care not to overcook it — the center of the pork should be just barely rosy when it is done. To round out the meal, serve with sauteed seasonal vegetables and a simple grain side dish, like couscous.
Pork Medallions with Romesco Sauce
For a lower-fat dish that’s still big on flavor, serve the pork with applesauce instead of the romesco.
1 lb. pork tenderloin
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1/2 tsp. crushed fennel seed
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups roasted red bell peppers, jarred or homemade, drained, liquid reserved
4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. dry sherry or red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Trim fat and any silvery membrane from tenderloin and cut crosswise into rounds about 1/2 inch thick.
Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Immediately pour onto a plate to cool.
In a small bowl, stir together fennel seed, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika. Rub spice mixture into both sides of pork rounds and let stand at room temperature while you make the sauce.
In a blender or food processor, combine walnuts and garlic and process until finely chopped. Add roasted peppers, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sherry, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, cayenne and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and whirl until smooth. Stir in up to 1 tablespoon roasted-pepper liquid if sauce is too thick. Set aside.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches if necessary, add pork loin rounds to pan in a single layer and cook just until browned and still faintly pink in the center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and let rest for about 5 minutes.
Divide pork among 4 dinner plates and spoon romesco sauce over meat. Serve right away.