Salt-curing meat originated as a preservation method prior to the advent of refrigerants. Salt and sugar pull moisture from the meat and dry it out, creating an environment not conducive to bacterial growth. The most commonly found salt-cured meats include ham and prosciutto. However, pork tenderloin can also be cured and has an ideal shape for slicing thin and serving as part of an amuse-bouche.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried lavender flower
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- Mixing bowl
- Filet knife
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- Large plastic food storage bag
- Paper towels
- 1/2 tbsp brandy
- 1/2 tbsp cracked black peppercorns
- Kitchen twine
- Wire cooling rack
Add 1 tsp each dried basil, rosemary, lavender flower, marjoram, thyme, sage and fennel seed to a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly and store in an airtight container. These spices comprise herbes de Provence, a blend of seasonings common to the Mediterranean region of France.
Trim the silver skin from the tenderloin using a fillet knife. Silver skin, a connective tissue that has a shimmering, metallic appearance, shrinks when cured and causes the tenderloin to distort and curl. For aesthetic purposes, trim approximately two to three inches from the ends of the tenderloin.
Add 1/2 cup of kosher salt and 1 tbsp light brown sugar to a large plastic food storage bag. Shake the bag thoroughly to mix the salt and sugar. Place the tenderloin in the bag, coat liberally with the salt and sugar mixture and refrigerate for 12 hours.
Remove the tenderloin from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Although some salt and sugar will drop from the tenderloin, do not remove any excess. Coat the tenderloin with 1/2 tbsp brandy, 1/2 tbsp cracked black peppercorns and 1/2 tbsp of the herbes de Provence that you mixed.
Place an 18-inch long sheet of cheesecloth on a table in a single layer. Place the tenderloin at one end of the cheesecloth. Roll the tenderloin away from you while simultaneously wrapping it tightly in the cheesecloth. Twist one end of the cheesecloth clockwise and tie with kitchen twine. Twist the other end counterclockwise and tie with kitchen twine. The cheesecloth should fit snugly against the tenderloin.
Place on a wire rack, which allows air to circulate underneath the tenderloin, and store in the refrigerator for six weeks. After six weeks, the tenderloin will have a dry, very-firm, jerky-like exterior that yields to a softer, dark pink interior. Rinse the tenderloin prior to serving.
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- "The Professional Chef 8th Edition"; The Culinary Institute of America; 2006
- Borders: Saucisson of Pork Tendereloin
- The Paupered Chef: Saucisson of Pork Tenderloin
- Epicurious: Herbes de Provence
- University of Georgia National Center for Home Food Preservation: Curing and Smoking Meats for Home Food Preservation