Sunday Night Dinners are big around here. I cook during week, but given that I don’t get home until 7pm or later most nights, any recipe that takes more than an hour to get from the refrigerator to the table is instantly nixed.
But ah, Sundays. On Sundays I can spend a leisurely afternoon in the kitchen, pottering around and trying my hand at a few of the hundreds of recipes I’ve bookmarked. Sunday dinners also provide a nice break from the hassles of the week and the busy socializing of the weekend. I can snuggle up next to my fiance as we share plates, enjoy our apartment and bask in a moment of cozy domesticity.
Sunday Night Dinner doesn’t have to be fancy; in fact, it rarely is. The meals I whip up on Sunday are usually more homey, rustic dishes — like roast chicken (and I have an excellent new roast chicken recipe to share with you soon) or saffron risotto. In fact, on some level it isn’t so much what I cook but rather that can take time to enjoy the process of cooking it. Cooking is always fun, but it’s just more fun on Sundays.
This pork tenderloin and arugula salad is simple, light and delicious and comes together quickly enough that I could probably prepare it on a weeknight. But then I’d rush through it, foregoing the enjoyment I get from smelling the toasted walnuts, deglazing the brown bits from the pan, emulsifying the vinaigrette. On Sunday, I can appreciate all of those steps — and even have dessert in the works at the same time.
Throw in a loaf of crusty bread, some goat cheese and a bottle of red wine, and this salad might have you thinking you’re in France, forgetting that your weekday routine begins again the next day…
Well, maybe doing the dishes will remind you.
Pork Tenderloin with Arugula, Endive and Walnut Vinaigrette
Adapted from Gourmet, March 2008
Note: This recipe makes a LOT of dressing. You will not need all of it, but you can save it and use it on other salads; it’s delicious.
1 1/4 pound pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
About 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup walnuts, toasted, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons water
5 ounces baby arugula
3 medium Belgian endives, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 375F, centering the rack in the middle of the oven.
Pat the dry and sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a 12-inch ovenproof heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then brown pork on all sides, about 6 minutes total.
Transfer pork in skillet to oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 145 to 150F, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes.
While pork stands, add vinegar to skillet (be careful — the handle will be very hot) and boil, scraping up any brown bits, until slightly reduced, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a heatproof measuring cup and add enough olive oil to bring total to 3/4 cup liquid.
Pulse 3/4 cup walnuts with garlic, water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to a coarse paste in a food processor. With motor running, slowly add oil mixture to make vinaigrette.
Toss arugula and endive with just enough vinaigrette to coat, then divide among plates. Top with thin slices of pork and drizzle with more vinaigrette. Crumble remaining 1/4 cup walnuts over pork.
Yield: 4 servings