I’ve gone nutty!

I’ve been on a “nut kick” as of late.  Last week it was Almond-Crusted Mahi Mahi. This evening it was Almond-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cranberry-Apple Conserve.  O.M.G… can I say, delicious!?!  And yes, for those wondering, It was salted perfectly. 😉

I was asked if I had “a lot of almonds” since two of my recent meals were “Almond-Crusted”. I was thinking about this as the evening went on, finding it a little odd myself. I chalked it up to almonds adding a pleasant crunch to a dish.  That is until I logged on to post this entry. Interestingly my home page article read: “5 Healthy Foods That Will Lift Your Spirits” and guess what one of them was? If you guessed nuts, you guessed right!  Nuts (cashews, almonds, peanuts) are high in Magnesium. Magnesium influences production of serotonin, a “feel-good” brain chemical that affects overall energy production.  Nuts are also a good source of protein. Hmmm.  This explains quite a bit. 😉

Back to my pork. 🙂 I absolutely LOVE pork. Pork Chops (bone-in) are my all-time favorite!  Cooked to a perfect 160 degrees and then left to rest, the pork  in this dish was moist on the inside with a nice crunch on the outside courtesy the panko and almonds.  The cranberries and apples in the conserve were plump (my dinner guest had no idea they were previously dried) and sweet.  But not overpowering. A scrumpdillyicious compliment to the pork. Fresh cooked carrots proved to be a good accompaniment to this dish.

Almond-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry-Apple Conserve

Courtesy my “Best of Cooking Light” 2000 edition cookbook, I will definitely make this dish again. Besides the overall deliciousness, this recipe lends well to substitutions and eliminations. I did not follow this recipe to a “T”. A good recipe is a recipe you can mold into your own. Easily. Without jeopardizing the flavor. 🙂

Almond-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cranberry-Apple Conserve

2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins
2 (1-ounce) slices white bread (note: I substituted with Plain Panko)
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
cooking spray
Dried Cranberry-Apple Conserve (see below)
Rosemary sprig (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425

2. Trim fat from pork. Place the bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until crumbs form to measure 2 cups. Combine breadcrumbs and next 4 ingredients (breadcrumbs thru salt) in a shallow dish. Dip pork in egg whites; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place pork on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Insert a meat thermometer into thickest part of pork. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes or until thermometer registers 160 (slightly pink). Cover with foil and let stand 10 minutes. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Serve pork with Dried Cranberry-Apple Conserve. Garnish with a rosemary sprig, if desired.

Dried Cranberry-Apple Conserve

2 cups sweetened dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/3 cup diced dried apple
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 ground red pepper
dash of ground allspice
dash of ground cinnamon
dash of ground ginger
1/4 cup red plum or raspberry jam

1. Combine the first 5 ingredients; cover, and let stand 30 minutes.

2. Combine vinegar and next 5 ingredients (vinegar through ground ginger) in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add the fruit mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in jam. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature.  NOTE: the conserve can be made up to 5 days ahead and store in refrigerator.

Dried Cranberry-Apple Conserve

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