Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

This is a showstopper of a dinner entree, but it does involve getting your "crafty on" by basket-weaving bacon. Okay, I know that sounds complicated, but I am positive that everyone can do it =)

The key to success with this recipe is to par-cook the bacon. Skipping this step will result in overcooked pork tenderloin and limp, chewy and under-cooked bacon. Neither of which sound good to me! Follow my tips below and all of your dinner guests (or just you), will be thrilled with this yummy recipe.

bacon wrapped pork tenderloin

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin, ~1 lb.
  • 10 pieces of thick cut bacon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400 F. On a microwave safe plate or dish, place 2 sheets of paper towels and lay out your thick cut bacon into a single layer. You may need to do this in two batches. Cover bacon with 2 more sheets of paper towels and microwave on high for 1 minutes. Flip the entire bacon/paper towel packet. Microwave on high for another minute. Flip and microwave 1-2 more times, or until the bacon is half-cooked.

While the bacon cools, prepare the pork tenderloin. With a sharp knife, remove the silver skin (here's Fine Cooking's video tutorial: http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to-trim-tenderloin.aspx). Stir together the salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and evenly cover the pork tenderloin.

Thick cut bacon would have given me better structure in my first attempt at a BACON BASKET-WEAVE!

Thick cut bacon would have given me better structure in my first attempt at a BACON BASKET-WEAVE!

On the parchment-lined sheet pan, lay out 5 pieces of par-cooked bacon vertically, directly next to it's neighbor. Fold EVERY OTHER piece of bacon in half. Lay one strip of bacon horizontally, butted up tightly against the folded seam, and unfold the previously folded bacon strips. For the next set, fold the opposite EVERY OTHER piece of bacon in half and repeat the horizontal piece. Repeat the process until you have used all 5 horizontal strips. You should have a relatively even square bacon basket-weave.

Place the seasoned pork tenderloin on the edge of the square and tightly roll the weave around the meat. Secure with 2-3 toothpicks, or place the seam side down to secure. Roast the tenderloin for 15-20 minutes, checking the internal temperature at the 15 minute mark. Pull the pork as soon as it hits 145 F. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy your masterpiece.

The finished product enjoying a bit of a rest.

The finished product enjoying a bit of a rest.

Spicy Salmon Cucumber Bites

What a stunner these little appetizers turned out to be. I've seen appetizers done with a spoonful of dip dolloped on top of a cucumber slice. They always seem too precarious to me; like the filling will more likely end up in your guest's lap than their mouth. The method in this recipe of cutting the cucumber slice for stability, then scooping out the middle to make a cup for the filling solved that problem. The fact that they're low carb, bright, interesting and flavorful will make them a go-to app for years to come. 

I didn't significantly change the recipe which I found over on  Nom Nom Paleo . They've got some gorgeous recipes, check them out.

I didn't significantly change the recipe which I found over on Nom Nom Paleo. They've got some gorgeous recipes, check them out.

Spicy Salmon Cucumber Bites

Recipe adapted from Nom Nom Paleo, serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb, wild caught salmon 
  • 3 English cucumbers, peeled and cut crosswise into ¾-inch thick slices
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use no-sugar added Duke's brand)
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives, plus garnish
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (sweet/dulce)
  • olive oil
  • salt
Spicy Mayonnaise

Spicy Mayonnaise

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 F. On a parchment, or foil-lined sheet pan, place the salmon. Drizzle with olive oil, and season liberally with salt on both sides. Roast 18-20 minutes until salmon is cooked to medium doneness. Let rest for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, paprika and Tabasco. Flake the cooked salmon into the mayonnaise mixture, add the shallots, chives and gently combine. Adjust seasoning to taste. Refrigerate the mixture until you're ready to fill the cucumber cups.

No more than two hours before serving, prepare the cucumber cups. I did not have a melon baller but I found a rounded 1/4 teaspoon worked just as well. Be careful you don't go through the base of the cucumber.

Check the seasoning again, as I find the flavor sometimes dulls in the fridge. Add the salmon salad into the cups. I used two small spoons to do this. Garnish with chopped chives and serve.

Finished appetizers displayed on a "silver" tray.

Finished appetizers displayed on a "silver" tray.