Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with a spacious kitchen. They often bring some of their market's best ingredients home with them and cook up a feast, and when they're not cooking at home, they're working with the staff at Marczyk to create recipes for the rest of us to enjoy, usually turning to Whitney Ariss, a home cook and the market's marketing project manager and events coordinator, for inspiration.
"Our produce guru at Marczyk's, Roger Burleigh, has been carefully curating an intriguing mix of items from a great local purveyor called Hunt & Gather, and the candy cap mushrooms are our latest addition, not to mention my favorite new ingredient in our stores right now," says Ariss.
And the name, she insists, is no joke: "These mushrooms, which are foraged in the Pacific Northwest and immediately dried to preserve and intensity their mildly earthy and candy-like flavor, are actually sweet," she says, adding that the mushrooms "release a fragrance that's so much like maple syrup." In fact, claims Ariss, your kitchen will smell like pancakes for days. "It's actually awesome, and if they weren't so delicious, I might consider using them as potpourri."
The mushrooms, she notes, are often used to flavor desserts, "but they work really well in savory applications and are particularly wonderful in this pork tenderloin recipe," she says. "The brown sugar sweetness from the mushrooms blends in perfect harmony with the savory, smoky bacon and adds a rich, sweet flavor to the pork tenderloin -- think maple syrup drizzled over your breakfast sausage."
Ariss suggests pairing the tenderloin with roasted fingerlings and fresh mushrooms, tossed with a little extra fat from the bacon. "Toss them on a sheet pan for a super-simple side dish that you can cook right along with the tenderloin, and the result is an incredibly flavorful meat-and-potatoes meal," she promises.
Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with candy cap mushrooms Serves 2-3
1 large shallot, peeled and minced 1/2 cup dried candy cap mushrooms 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 whole pork tenderloin Salt and pepper 5-6 strips applewood-smoked bacon (or bacon of your choice)
Directions Preheat oven to 425 degrees
1. In a small bowl, crumble the dried mushrooms into a powdery mixture, or grind them in a spice grinder. 2. Add shallot and drizzle olive oil over the mixture. Season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Using your hands, rub mixture all over pork tenderloin, coating it evenly. 3. Wrap bacon strips around the tenderloin, firmly tucking about 2 inches of the end of each strip under the adjacent piece, so the bacon doesn't unravel as it cooks. You may also secure the bacon with kitchen twine. 3. Place a large, shallow pan over medium-high heat and sear the bacon on each side until it shrinks and browns a little, about a minute per side. 4. Put tenderloin on a small, rimmed baking tray and place in the oven. 5. Cook until bacon is browned and tenderloin is somewhat firm, about 12 to 15 minutes, flipping the tenderloin over about halfway through the cooking process. 6. Remove tenderloin from oven and place on a paper towel to rest for about 10 minutes. 7. Slice into thick rounds and serve immediately.
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