Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen
By Sara Foster
Hardcover, 416 pages
List Price: $35
My mom always made this hearty breakfast when my husband, Peter, and I came to visit her in Memphis; it is so Southern that eating it always made me feel I was really home. (I don't think Peter, who is from New York, had ever had either pork tenderloin or gravy for breakfast.) The roasted tomato gravy is what makes it so special; roasting the tomatoes cuts and deepens their bright acidity, adding complex layers of flavor to the savory sauce. You can mix things up by making this dish with sausage patties or leftover slices of Grilled and Roasted Filet of Beef with Crispy Roasted Shallots instead of the pork tenderloin. Either way, you'll want to use the biscuits to sop up the last drops of gravy.
Serves 4 to 6
3 plum tomatoes, cored and halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 1-pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Favorite Buttermilk Biscuits
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Place the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste and bake for about 30 minutes, until the skins begin to shrivel and the tomatoes start to caramelize. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard the skins (they will slip right off) and roughly chop the tomatoes.
While the tomatoes are cooking, rinse the pork, pat dry, and remove any silver skin (see Know-how on next page). Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling hot (see Know-how, page 100). Slice the tenderloin into rounds about 1⁄4 inch thick (12 to 15 slices) and sprinkle with the thyme and salt and pepper to taste, pressing lightly so the seasonings adhere. Dip the rounds in the flour to coat both sides lightly; reserve the remaining flour. Place the pork in the skillet and saute for about 2 minutes per side, until light brown around the edges. Remove the meat from the skillet, place on a plate, and cover loosely.
Add the butter to the same skillet and melt until sizzling hot. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved dredging flour and stir to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, just until the flour cooks slightly and turns light brown. Whisk in the broth and stir until the gravy is slightly thick and smooth. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the gravy comes to a boil and thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and return the tenderloin slices to the skillet with the gravy just to warm through. Remove from the heat and serve warm over the biscuits.
From Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen by Sara Foster. Copyright 2011 by Sara Foster. Reprinted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.