Pork tenderloin is one of the most versatile cuts of lean meat out there: It agrees with just about any kind of herb or spice and pairs well with most side dishes you put on the table. Here, dried oregano and thyme are rubbed on the pork, which is then browned on the stovetop and finished in the oven with sliced fresh figs and pears added to the pan. As the fruit roasts with the pork, it creates a sweet-savory compote that, when served with some steamed wild rice, turns an ordinary meal into an elegant fall dinner.
What to buy: If you can’t find fresh figs or they aren’t in season, substitute an additional pear or a crisp apple like a Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or Gravenstein.
Click here to watch the CHOW Test Kitchen’s Lisa Lavery make this simple pork tenderloin in our Easiest Way video series.
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 (1- to 1-1/2-pound) pork tenderloin
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 8 ounces fresh figs (about 6 medium), halved lengthwise
- 1 ripe but firm medium Comice pear, halved, cored, and sliced 1 inch thick
- Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- Place the measured salt, oregano, measured pepper, and thyme in a small bowl and mix to combine; set aside.
- Trim the tenderloin of any silver skin and pat it dry with paper towels. Using your hands, rub the tenderloin all over with 1 tablespoon of the oil, sprinkle it with all of the spice mixture, and rub until it’s evenly coated.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed oven-safe frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until evenly browned all over, about 8 to 12 minutes total.
- Turn off the heat. Scatter the figs and pears in an even layer around the pork and season the fruit with salt and pepper. Place the skillet in the oven and cook until the pork is deeply browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145°F to 150°F, about 12 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the pork to a clean cutting board, and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes. Transfer the figs and pears to a serving bowl. To serve, cut the pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices, passing the figs and pears on the side.