A couple of years ago my wife Lindsay and I were in Rome and we had a phenomenal meal that I have wanted to recreate ever since. The dish, baked endive with goat cheese, is extremely easy to make and is absolutely delectable. It was actually served as an entree (at a French restaurant in Rome, go figure) but we decided to recreate it as a side dish served with pork tenderloin and homemade garlic mashed potatoes.
Obviously, it's best to start with the tenderloin first, as you will need to marinate the pork overnight.
Clean excess fat off of a couple of pork tenderloins. I like to make more pork than needed for the actual meal because it makes great leftovers (sandwiches and sliced into salads).
Put the tenderloins into a heavy storage ziplock bag. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Take a port wine of your choice and pour into the bag to cover the tenderloins. If you don't have a fresh herb garden at home, get some fresh herbs from the store and add to the bag to flavor during the marinading. Use what herbs you have available and toss them in whole with stems and all. I used fresh oregano and fresh thyme. Refrigerate the tenderloins overnight.
Once the tenderloins are marinated remove from the bag and heat a heavy skillet. Also preheat your oven to 300 degrees. When the pan is hot add enough olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter to cover the pan. Next add a little bit of chopped garlic and heat. Just before the garlic browns, add the tenderloins and sear, rolling the pork to get a good sear all around. When the tenderloins are completely seared, remove from heat and set aside.
Gently rinse the endive with cool water and separate it into individual leaves. Plan for each person to eat 3 or 4 leaves, as endive tends to be small. Next spoon in goat cheese of your choice into the leaf pocket of the endive. I used an herbed goat cheese. Letting the goat cheese sit out at room temperature for about 15 minutes before you plan to use it makes it much easier to spread. Season with salt and pepper and place the leaves in a heated skillet with olive oil. Heat for a few minutes, constantly moving the leaves around the pan. The endive does not need to be browned that much; you are just adding a little color.
Next put the skillet with the pork tenderloins into your preheated oven for around 20 to 25 minutes. Watch the pork so that it does not over cook. The endive skillet also needs to go into the oven to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Be sure to watch the cheese; when it begins to bubble and brown it is ready. While the pork is cooking, baste it with the juices in the pan.
While the pork and endive bakes, prepare mashed potatoes or some wild rice. Lindsay and I like to add parmesan cheese and lots of garlic to our mashed potatoes to give it that little kick.
When your pork is finished, take it out and let it rest for 5 minutes. This is very important with pork – it keeps the meat juicy. While pork is resting, deglaze the pan with a little wine to get all the little bits of seared pork from the pan and stir it over low heat to create a light sauce. Slice the pork into medallions and arrange on a plate. Spoon some of the sauce over the pork and arrange several endive cups next to the medallions.
I paired this meal with a shiraz from Australia, Hill Of Content.
Tasting Notes: Ruby red in color, vibrant, jammy nose with earthy qualities, lots of spice and dark fruits make this shiraz a great pick for pork and any other roasted meats.