If you missed our Oscar’s evening buffet, you missed a chance to sample these juicy – but dainty – pork tenderloin sandwiches, each draped provocatively in feta aioli. But unlike the luxurious Oscar gowns adorning the red carpet, these luxe little creations can easily be replicated in the privacy of your own home.
As with all prime time events, advance planning is necessary and preparation of this dish should begin a day in advance. Don’t fret — the steps are easy and time itself will do most of the advance work for you. Scents of garlic and oregano will perfume the air while the marinade is prepared, aromas that – at least for some of us – are far more alluring than the most expensive Oscar-worthy perfumes.
Greek Inspired Pork Tenderloin Sliders
For the Pork Tenderloin:
3 lbs pork tenderloin
1/2 cup olive oil, plus additional for sautéing
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsps fennel seed
2 Tbs fresh Greek oregano (or substitute 2 tsp dried)
1 Tbs fresh thyme (or substitute 1 tsp dried)
For the Feta Aioli:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 ozs feta cheese, finely crumbled
1 clove garlic
16 soft dinner rolls
4 Tbs softened butter
THE EVENING BEFORE:
Marinate the Pork:
1) Rinse the pork tenderloins, and carefully remove the excess fat and silver membrane. Cut tenderloins into 6 to 8 inch segments and place them in a deep, flat dish.
2) In a small bowl combine the olive oil, minced garlic, fennel seed, oregano, and thyme, and mix well. Pour marinade over the pork tenderloin, turning to coat.
3) Cover tightly and refrigerate for 8 to 10 hours or overnight, turning pork once or twice during the marinating time.
Prepare the Feta Aioli:
1) In a deep bowl, combine the mayonnaise and feta cheese. Using a garlic press, add the clove of garlic. Mix well with a fork, mashing any large pieces of feta. The mixture should have texture, but no large lumps of cheese.
2) Cover tightly and refrigerate to allow the flavors to meld.
1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2) Bring the pork to temperature for approximately one hour, remove from marinade, and pat dry. Heat a large, non-stick sauté pan over medium high heat and add 2 tsp olive oil. Working in batches, sauté the pork to brown it on all sides, approximately 5 minutes per batch. Wipe out pan in between batches and reheat so that pork will brown but not stick.
3) Place the browned pork in a large oven-proof pan and roast at 450 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. (Time will depend on the thickness of the tenderloin.) Do not overcook. The pork’s internal temperature will continue to rise after it is removed from the oven, and the goal is moist, juicy meat.
4) Remove meat from the oven to a large plate and tent with foil, allow to rest 10 minutes.
5) While the meat is roasting and resting, slice the rolls and butter each half. Toast the rolls on a pre-heated flat griddle for approximately 5 to 6 minutes, until lightly browned.
6) Thinly slice the pork tenderloin on the diagonal. Arrange the sliced pork, toasted rolls, feta aioli, and assorted garnishes on elegant serving dishes.
Makes 16 mini-sandwiches. Serves 8 as part of a buffet spread, or 4 as the main event.
Allow your guests to assemble their own sliders on the toasted rolls. They can combine the pork slices with feta aioli, and a selection of their preferred garnishes such as green leaf lettuce, thinly sliced tomatoes, or even thin slivers of red onion, if desired.
You don’t need to wait for the next Academy Award ceremony to enjoy these little sandwiches. With a bit of imagination, you are certain to come up with your own reason to celebrate — and we’ll toast to your occasion. Salute!