The more the merrier is my food philosophy. I love hosting and I really get my jollies by sharing dinner with as many friends and loved ones as I can. That, to me, is the soul in food.
I never like to serve the same thing twice. Who would ever want to come over when they know it’s Chicken Something again? But when the menu is always a little unexpected, it makes the invitation that much more enticing.
Pork tenderloin has been an easy go-to for my menu planning for some time now. It seems strange to say I’m obsessed with this tender cut of meat — but really, I am. I’ve grilled it and served as medallions, shredded for pulled pork sandwiches, sauteed with veggies for fajitas, cubed for pork and veggie stew, and so much more. The question is — what haven’t I used pork tenderloin for?
It’s an affordable cut of meat that is easy and generally pretty quick to prepare. It’s also hard to mess it up. You’ve really got to try to burn or dry out a tenderloin.
So a recent craving for, yes, more pork, and an endless need to eat as much goat cheese as possible became the undeniable focus of a dinner with friends. We recently moved to Denver and they’ve been the best kind of welcome wagon there is. Our temporary lodging isn’t ideal for hosting, but their home is. So after I got everything mostly prepared, we finished the sandwiches there. These little beauties kicked off a night of revelry with dear friends.
It would be a shame not to share the recipe with you as I did with them.
You can certainly prepare the pork any trusted way you like. For me, that’s this Grilled Rosemary and Balsamic Pork Tenderloin. With those two ingredients and about 30 minutes, this pound of pork cooks up perfectly. For the sandwiches you’ll cut thin slices, about a half-inch thick.
While the pork cooks you can caramelize the onions. I do this with thinly sliced sweet yellow onions and about a tablespoon of butter. I find they don’t burn as easily in the butter as they do oil, and it also tends to bring out more of that sweet flavor.
You’ll select rolls based on the number of sandwiches you’re making. You can make four heavy sandwiches that really do eat like a meal, or you can trim down for a smaller slider-style sandwich. Soft wheat dinner rolls, crusty bolillo rolls, brioche buns, or even a great baguette will work. Fill each half of the sandwiches with a schmear of goat cheese, a handful of arugula, the onions, slices of pork, and top it all with a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
You don’t even know. I’m telling you, this sandwich will blow your tastebuds’ mind! It was perfect for a casual dinner with friends as full-sized sandwiches, and it makes a platter full for smaller servings at a bigger event. No matter how you slice ’em, you’ll want to make an exception to add them to the regular hostess menu rotation.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
1 lb. Grilled Rosemary and Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
1/2 sweet yellow onion, sliced thin and caramelized
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups arugula
4 oz. goat cheese
4 Tbsp. balsamic reduction
4-8 wheat rolls (use the bread of your choice)
1. Prepare the pork and when fully cooked, cut in thin slices, about 1/4″ thick. Set aside.
2. While the pork cooks, caramelize the onions. Set aside.
3. Warm the rolls, and then prepare with all toppings. Spread goat cheese on the bottom roll, top with arugula, onions, and pork. Then finish with the balsamic reduction.
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Sweet and Spicy English Cucumber Pickles
Recipe by Brandi Koskie; Photos by Kacy Meinecke