December 8, 2011

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Saffron Infused Barley Pilaf

My husband was in the mood to talk. Mind you, this is rare and I must take full advantage of his sudden willingness to make conversation while I cook dinner in the kitchen. Instead of shushing him to concentrate on the task at hand (okay, it happened a few times) I was enjoying his company. We sipped on wine while I rubbed down pork tenderloin and boiled barley, wondering what I was making for the two of us.

As it turns out, being distracted in the kitchen is a recipe for greatness. Or being in love. Either or. The flavors of Spain jumped out of my pocket and I conjured up a dish that was unique yet simple. When he took a bite of the saffron infused barley pilaf, his eyes rolled to the back of his head, he stopped talking, and started shoveling. This is a good sign, right?

I think so. 

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

24 oz pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. In small bowl, mix olive oil with all of the spices. Rub the tenderloin pieces with spice mixture until thoroughly coated. Preheat oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and pan-sear pieces until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to oven until done (6 to 8 minutes for each inch of thickness).

Saffron Infused Barley Pilaf 
(Use quinoa for a gluten free alternative. Would be just as delicious)

1 cup hulled barley, rinsed
1 pinch saffron threads
1 cup Spanish green olives, chopped
1 cup Spanish peanuts, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
The zest and ½ the juice of a lemon

Cook hulled barley according to package directions (in rapidly boiling salted water for 35-45 minutes). Once the barley is al dente, turn down the heat and add a pinch of saffron threads. Allow the barley to simmer with saffron for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, oregano, cilantro, paprika, salt, the juice of ½ a lemon and lemon zest. Toss the barley with the dressing, green olives and peanuts.


  1. Yum this sounds delicious! I have a big box of barley sitting in my pantry that I was looking for ideas for and this sounds like just the thing with the saffron, olives, paprika, etc. I too love it when something I make makes my hubby's eyes roll to the back of this head...makes me feel like such a bad a*s!

  2. cute that your hubby came to sit with you while you cooked. My husband is either buzzing around (and I'm trying to concentrate) or asking if dinner is ready yet. This looks like a lovely dinner. I was hooked as soon as I saw those olives.:)

  3. Silence at the dinner table is not a bad sign, it means that everyone is savoring their food! Ha-now you have a trick to getting peace and quiet when you need it.
    After seeing this dish, I think my comment should have been " ". After all it is a comment of wordless enjoyment! Great post!

  4. I adore this barley recipe. Saffron, green olives, peanuts...sounds perfect!

  5. What a romantic post and the meal looks absolutely amazing! Very nicely done!

  6. AW! That' so sweet! I don't allow my husband anywhere near the kitchen unless it's to taste test!

  7. Gorgeous recipe! Love all the spices in this.

  8. Saffron and olives are such a great combination! Isn't it fun when inspiration strikes like this and everything comes together?

  9. What a fabulous dinner!!! If I was distracted, I'd have a mess on my hands, but you created a gourmet meal!

  10. Oh heck yea! My husband likes to watch me cook...I'd rather him get behind the counter and start cooking himself! Maybe I'll forward him this recipe...think he'll get the hint? ;)

    Looks great!

  11. What a fabulous recipe! We love pork loin and this sounds and looks wonderful! I had never made homemade piraf at home, but looking at this, I feel like I can make it without failing! Thanks for sharing the recipe!


Thanks so much for leaving a comment!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...