Crostini Recipe With Pork & Apple-Raisin Compote | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Crostini Recipe With Pork & Apple-Raisin Compote | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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TIP OF THE DAY: Rosemary Garnish, Plus Crostini Recipe With Pork & Apple-Raisin Compote

Today’s tip started out simply as an example of how to use fresh rosemary sprigs (photo #4) as a decorative herb over the holidays.

You can place a sprig in a cocktail or mineral water, use it as a plume for mashed potatoes, use it as skewers for olives or berries, and use it as a plate garnish, as in photo #1 where it’s used to separate hors d’oeuvre on a tray.

Rosemary, Salvia rosmarinus, is a woody perennial herb with fragrant leaves that resemble evergreen needles (no relation). It is native to the Mediterranean region.

Rosemary is a member of the Lamiaceae family, that also includes other aromatic culinary herbs such as basil, hyssop, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, perilla, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme.

The first mention of rosemary is found on cuneiform stone tablets from around 5000 B.C.E. The Egyptians used it in their burial rituals [source].

Much later, in 8th-century Britain, Charlemagne, who promoted herbs in general, ordered rosemary to be grown in monastic gardens and farms.

In Britain, rosemary became a popular seasoning in a variety of dishes: casseroles, chicken and other poultry, fish (especially stronger/oily fish), game, lamb, pork, salads, soups, steaks and stews.

Homeopathically, rosemary contains compounds that are help to improve digestion and increase circulation.

This recipe requires brining the pork loins 24 hours in advance. Then, the additional recipe cook time is 1 hour 45 minutes.

If you don’t want to spend the time cooking pork tenderloin, just substitute store-bought ham.

You can also make the apple-raisin compote in a few days in advance, further speeding up the prep.

This recipe is courtesy of chef/owner Natalie Niksa of La Saison in Napa Valley.

For a smaller crowd, it’s easy to halve the recipe.

She pairs it with Duckhorn Wines Sauvignon Blanc (photo #2—it’s one of our favorites as well).
Ingredients For 20 Servings (2 Pieces Per Person)

  • 1-2 baguettes, depending on length
  • 2 pork tenderloins (10 ounces – 1 pound each)
  • Oil: canola, grapeseed or olive oil
  • Optional plate garnish: rosemary sprigs
    For The Brine

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
    For The Compote

  • 2 lbs apples, peeled and diced (choose firm/crisp apples such as Honeycrisp, Macintosh or Macoun)
  • 3/4 cup raisins, whole
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white wine, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves (best to put in cheese cloth)
  • 1 teaspoon crystallized ginger, small diced (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

    [1] Pork bruschetta with apple-raisin compote (photo © La Saison | Napa Valley).

    [2] This vibrant Sauvignon Blanc has aromas of lemongrass, lychee, passionfruit, melon and pineapple, followed by hints of white nectarine and lime. The palate balances refreshing acidity with the citrus and tropical fruit flavors, with a bright, zesty finish (photo © Duckhorn Vineyards).

    Bowl Of Raisins
    [3] For verve, mix purple raisins with golden raisins, a.k.a. sultanas—photo © California Raisins).

    Fresh Rosemary
    [4] Fresh rosemary. You can buy grown plants ready-to-plant from Burpee (photo © Burpee).


    1. MAKE the brine for the pork. Combine all ingredients (except the pork tenderloin) in a medium pot, and bring to a boil. Steep for 20 minutes and then cool completely. Once the brine is cold, add the pork tenderloins and brine for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

    2. MAKE the compote. Bring the water and sugar to a boil until large bubbles start to form and the sugar starts to caramelize (approximately 15 minutes). Be careful at this stage: The sugar is VERY HOT and can burn when making caramel. Once the water and sugar have formed large bubbles and have started to caramelize…

    3. REMOVE the pot from the heat and slowly add the wine, using a wooden spoon. It is important to add the wine slowly so that the caramel does not seize. Stir until the wine and caramel are completely incorporated.

    4. TURN the heat to low. Add the apples, raisins, bay leaves and ginger, and cook until the apples are tender (about 15 minutes). Remove from the heat and cool completely. Add the Dijon and apple cider vinegar. Season with salt to taste. If made in advance and refrigerated, remove to the counter to warm when you are ready to assemble and serve.

    When ready to cook the pork…

    5. DRY the tenderloins using a paper towel. Then let the pork sit out for 30 minutes to get to room temperature before cooking.

    6. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle. Slice the baguette into 40 slices, place on a baking sheet lined with foil and drizzle with olive oil. Toast for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove and set aside.

    7. COOK the pork. Heat the oil in a medium-size pan lightly coated with the oil, and sear the pork on all sides until golden brown (approximately 7-10 minutes). Finish in the 350°F oven for 12 minutes until fully cooked and the pork registers 135°-140°F. The temperature will continue to rise after the pork is out of the oven.

    8. MOVE the pork to a cutting board, cover with foil and rest for 15 minutes. Then slice to fit on top of crostini.

    9. ASSEMBLE. Place the pork on top of the crostini and garnish with the apple compote.

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