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Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Fennel and Apples

With a nod to the Italian classic, porchetta, a pork tenderloin is brined and stuffed with an herb, garlic and lemon rub then wrapped in prosciutto. Roasted apples and fennel are a perfect flavor plate side. A light to medium- bodied red wine such as Pinot Noir or Chianti is a great complement. A dry Riesling could work as well.

Preparing the brine and pork tenderloin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 lemon, quartered
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 large spring fresh sage
1 1-1.25 pound pork tenderloin (“catfish”)

Place the brown sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Add 2 cups water. Warm with medium heat stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. When dissolved remove from heat. Add the lemon and herbs. Add about 12 ice cubes to the pan and place the pan in the refrigerator.

While the brine is cooling, butterfly the pork tenderloin lengthwise. Place the butterflied tenderloin in a 1 gallon freezer storage bag. When the brine has cooled pour the contents into the bag with the tenderloin. Seal and allow the pork to brine at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.  

Preparing the herb and lemon and rub
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
zest of 1 lemon, minced
1 tablespoon ground fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.

Putting it all together
4 slices prosciutto
2 medium apples (Granny Smiths or Galas hold their shape and work well), cored and cut into 8-10 thick slices.
1 large fennel bulb, cored and thickly sliced. (Reserve fennel fronds for garnish)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F.  Remove the pork tenderloin from the brining bag. Rinse with cold water and pat thoroughly dry. Open the butterflied tenderloin and spread the lemon and herb rub all over the meat. Fold the tenderloin closed. If any of the herb rub remains, slather the outside of the tenderloin also. Lay four slices of prosciutto side by side on a cutting board. Lay the pork tenderloin on top of the prosciutto sliced near one edge and carefully roll the prosciutto slices around the tenderloin.

Place the wrapped pork tenderloin, seam side down, on a parchment paper lined-pan. Place the sliced apples and sliced fennel in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer on a second parchment paper-lined pan. Place the pan with the pork on the top shelf of the oven and pan with the fennel and apples on a lower shelf.

Roast until the pork tenderloin reaches 140 F, about 30-40 minutes. Rotate the pan with the apples and fennel about halfway though the cooking process. Let the pork rest 5-10 minutes after taking it from the oven, then slice. Arrange the pork slices around a serving of the fennel and apples. Garnish with a small fennel frond.