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Pork with Pesto simple and quick dish

Associated Press

This is an ideal dish for those free-and-easy days when last-minute entertaining is one of the fair-weather pleasures. The ingredients are a well-chosen handful, preparation is simple and the cook should have the main course on the table in about 20 minutes.

Both recipes are from “Le Cordon Bleu Quick and Easy” cookbook (Thunder Bay Press, 2004, $24.98) by Jeni Wright and Le Cordon Bleu chefs. This pork recipe serves two or three, but is easily doubled. To get ahead, the meat can be sliced and coated in seasoned flour, then covered and kept in the refrigerator up to 24 hours in advance.

Pork with Pesto

1 whole pork tenderloin, weighing about 12 ounces

1 heaped tablespoon all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

About 3 tablespoons bottled or homemade basil pesto (recipe follows)

1/2 cup medium sherry or white wine

Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Trim the pork tenderloin, then cut the meat on the diagonal into 1-inch slices; you should get about 10 slices. Place the slices on a board and flatten them with the base of a saucepan or a meat mallet until about 1/2 -inch thick.

Preheat the broiler. Spread the flour out on a plate and season well. Put the pork slices on the flour and turn to coat. Heat the oil in a large skillet and fry the pork slices for 2 minutes on each side.

Transfer the slices of pork to the rack of the broiler pan. Set the skillet aside. Spread the top of each pork slice with pesto and broil for 30 to 60 seconds until bubbling. Transfer to warm plates and keep hot.

Add the sherry or wine to the skillet and stir over moderate heat until well mixed with any sediment and meat juices in the pan. Pour over the pork. To serve: Garnish with fresh basil and serve immediately.

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

Nutrition per serving: Unable to calculate due to recipe variables.

Basil Pesto

3 garlic cloves

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 to 1 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves

2/3 cup toasted pignoli (pine nuts)

7 tablespoons good-quality olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Roughly chop the garlic. Place in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and work to a puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Use the pesto immediately, fresh. For later use, transfer to a sterilized airtight jar, cover with a thin film of olive oil and seal the jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

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