Roasted pork tenderloin stuffed with dried fruits soaked in Marsala wine, ham and almonds: an elegant and delicious recipe for a family get-together or a special occasion … something to impress your family and guests! You will love how beautiful the colors of the ingredients look when you slice it – we all know that we eat first with our eyes!!! The mingling of dried fruit, almonds and Marsala is mouth watering and recalls Sicilian flavors. In fact, Sicily is one of the most important producers of almonds in the world. Almonds, the symbol of good fortune, were first cultivated in the Middle East, then introduced in Sicily before 1000 BC. Further, Marsala, a fortified sweet wine similar to Port and Sherry, is produced in the region surrounding the city of Marsala in Sicily. This wine is a perfect complement to sharp cheeses, nuts, desserts or cooked meat (chicken Marsala is one of the most common dishes). The sweetness of Marsala gives this pork dish a fabulous and unexpected flavor.
ARISTA DI MAIALE RIPIENA AL FORNO (STUFFED ROAST PORK TENDERLOIN)
Preparation time: 1 ½ hours Baking time: 50 min. Servings: 4
1 kg (approx. 2 pounds) boneless pork tenderloin
50 g (3 thin slices) ham
110 ml (½ cup) Marsala wine
8 dried apricots
6 pitted prunes
30 g (2 tablespoons) toasted almonds
70 g (5 tablespoons) butter
5 blood orange slices
1 sprig of rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 205 °C (400°C)
Before cooking the roast, let stand unrefrigerated until it reaches room temperature.
1. Prick holes in the dried fruit and soak in Marsala for 30 min. Keep the Marsala for cooking the meat
2. Toast the almonds for about 5 to 6 minutes on a baking sheet in a preheated oven at 170°C (350°F) or stirring constantly in a non-stick skillet on the stove. Set aside
3. Cut a lengthwise slit down the center of the loin, stopping at about 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the other side. Open the loin so it lies almost flat
4. Completely cover the inner (cut) surface of the loin with the ham. Arrange the soaked dried fruits and the almonds in a line down the center. Wrap the loin around the fruit and place the orange slices and the rosemary sprig on top. Tie the roast at 5 cm (2 inch) intervals with kitchen string
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place it in a roasting pan with butter and Marsala
6. Bake uncovered at 205 °C (400°C) for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 180 °C (350 °F), cover with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 40 min. Use a meat thermometer to determine when it reaches your preferred level of doneness (70°C/160°F for medium). Uncover and place under broiler to brown the top for about 5 min.
7. Transfer to a cutting board. Let it stand for about 10-15 min. Remove the strings and slice it. You can serve with baked potatoes, mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables.
Note: You can substitute apricots with dried figs to make this recipe even more Mediterranean. -Paola