The whole Scandinavian lifestyle seems to be growing more and more popular in recent years and food is no exception. Lots of seafood and different methods of preservation are to be expected, but Trina Hahnemann, author of The Nordic Diet, is trying to give voice to the lighter side of Scandinavian cuisine. This dish is light, but still warming, and depending on accompaniments it would be just as comfortable in summer as it is in winter.
Before I moved to England, I don’t think I had ever heard of elderflower. But they love it over here and make it into a bunch of different things like jellies, cordial and wine. I’m usually not one for floral flavors, but with the anise flavor of the fennel, the acidity of the wine and the sweetness of the elderflower and fennel all complementing the tender, caramelized pork it was like a symphony.
If you’re having it in winter as we did, roasted potatoes or celery root (celeriac) purée will go beautifully. If in spring or summer, maybe some fresh spring peas or a take on a remoulade with fresh matchsticks of celery root (celeriac) in a warm lemon and shallot vinaigrette rather than a mayonnaise-based dressing.
This is a delicious and impressive dinner fit for a week night or for company, in summer or in winter. Test out Scandinavia’s culinary waters with this one and I guarantee you won’t look back.
Recipe adapted from The Nordic Diet by Trina Hahnemann
Serves 2-4 depending on the size of your tenderloin.
1-2 Pork Tenderloins, sliced into 1″ thick pieces and flattened with a rolling pin or heavy pan to about 1/2″ thick
1 Tbsp Fennel Seeds, toasted and crushed in a mortar and pestle
2 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
2 large Fennel Bulbs, sliced into 1/4″ slices
1 large Onion, sliced into 1/4″ slices
2 Bay Leaf
1 cup of White Wine
1 cup of Elderflower Cordial
1. Coat the pork pieces in fennel seeds and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat and brown the pork on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side.
3. Once brown, remove the pork and set aside to rest.
4. Add the remaining oil, fennel and onion to the pan with the thyme and bay leaves and sauté until just beginning to soften, about 10 minutes.
5. Deglaze the pan with the wine scraping up any brown bits, then add the elderflower cordial and bring to a simmer.
6. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 20-25 minutes.
7. Add the pork back to the pan, nestling it into the fennel and onion, and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the pork is cooked through.