Wednesday, April 21, 2010


 I am a cheapskate. I hate buying the little plastic packets of herbs in the produce aisle, which cost north of two dollars and usually contain way more herb than I need. I parsimoniously buy only what a recipe calls for, sometimes limping along on thyme when it calls for both rosemary and thyme, or  (horrors) substituting dried. At the end of the month, I clear out the odds and ends of the vegetable bin for broth, but inside the plastic packs of herbs is  a greenhouse, generally brown and slimy, having traveled way to far in the first place to have any longevity.

And so I love when the herbs come in. I am a way less than diligent gardener, and yet back they come, year after year, bigger and better and lusher and fatter. I step out of my kitchen in my Uggs and grab a little sage, or thyme, for my morning egg. I tuck oregano into roasting chickens, and poke mint into juleps. When we are assured of no more freezing nights, I will plant basil to grow into big bushes for pesto, of which I freeze copious amounts each autumn.

It didn't take too much for my garden to grow. I excavated a small patch between the porch and the garage, hauled out wheelbarrows full of Virginia's red clay soil and filled in with loamy dirt mixed with compost and manure. Then I plopped in a few choice stepping stones and mulched. As I traveled through spring, I collected a sage here, a chive here and a dill another spot. Into the garden they went. Add water, sun, summer and boom.

Which made crafting this tenderloin all the more pleasurable. Because generally, in the dead of winter,  I cheap out on either the thyme or the sage. But making it with the duo is infinitely more complex and satisfying.

Pork and herbs wrapped in Prosciutto

4 slices fresh prosciutto
8 portions pork tenderloin, 4 ounces each
sage leaves, sliced thinly
thyme leaves, pulled off the stalk
sea salt and ground pepper
2 T avocado oil

Cut proscuitto slices lengthwise in half.  Spread a half strip flat on work surface and sprinkle with sage and thyme (about a half teaspoon each),  put pork in the middle and wrap. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Heat avocado oil (I like avocado oil for sauteeing as it has the highest heat point of any monosaturated vegetable oil; grapeseed oil is also good). Cook pork pieces, turning once, until meat is brown and internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

I served with fresh asparagus sprinkled with coarse sea salt, accompanied by jasmine rice. Yum.


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