From Francis Mallman's new book "Seven Fires" - Grilling the Argentine Way. If you like grilling, get this book. Throw away your other books on grilling.
Try this outside (it's smoky) on a cast iron griddle. ( a Lodge 30 cm ridged pan works well) This is so striking and delicious. For so few ingredients it is deeply complex. First the burnt-ness of the sugar (not incinerated just burnt) really punctuates the other flavors. There is a bitter, fruity floral aspect to the orange peel (and its olive oil), and that floral herbal aspect is heightened by thyme. Then there's that funky thing you get when you bite down on pork, and as you naturally breathe out through your nose, it's a wonderful mix of herbal, floral, meaty.
Pork Tenderloin with Burnt Brown Sugar, Orange Confit, and Thyme
2 boneless pork tenderloins, about 500g each
6 pieces orange confit, about 5 cm each (see below)
30 mlfresh thyme leaves
15 ml coarse salt (or to taste)
45 ml light brown sugar
30 ml oil from the orange confit
Lay the pork tenderloins on a work surface. Flatten with the palm of your hand. Tear the orange confit into 2.5 cm pieces and distribute over the top surface of the meat. Sprinkle with the fresh thyme and half the salt. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top and pat it down firmly with your hand. Drizzle with 30 ml of oil from the orange confit. Preheat the grill plate (not a perforated grill) or a large cast iron griddle over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles.
Using a wide spatula, lift the pork tenderloins one by one and invert them sugar side down onto the griddle. Do not move them for 5 minutes. If the sugar begins to smell unpleasantly burned, adjust the heat by moving the griddle and lowering the flame. When the sugar side is well browned, turn the tenderloins. Cook on all sides for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until done to taste. The internal temperature should be 60 degrees for a rosy pink. If you dont like rare pork, take it up to 70 degrees (Celsius) Remove the meat to a carving board and allow to rest, tented with foil, for 10 minutes before slicing.
3 bay leaves
12 whole black peppercorns
500 ml plus 45 ml evoo
200 ml cup white wine
30 ml coarse salt
Cut the oranges in half. Squeeze the juice and reserve for another use. Place the squeezed orange halves in a 3 litre saucepan. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, 3 tablespoons olive oil, white wine and water to cover. Add salt and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the orange peel is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the liquid.
When cool enough to handle, drain the oranges. Tear the peel into rough strips about 25 mm wide. Place a strip of orange peel skin side down on a work surface and, using a very sharp paring knife, scrape away every bit of the white pith.
Place the strips of orange zest in a bowl and cover completely with extra virgin olive oil. This will keep, covered tightly in the refrigerator, for at least a week.