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One of my favorite food writers has to be Melissa Clark, who isn’t just a writer I follow in the New York Times every Wednesday, but is also a happily prolific cookbook writer. I could look up how many cookbooks Melissa’s written, but suffice it to say….there are plenty and more than plenty. When Melissa’s newest book, DINNER: CHANGING THE GAME, came out recently, I threw a little Facebook party giving it the big HURRAH!

It wasn’t long before a few cooking students, seeing the cover of this stunningly gorgeous book, said, “Hey, you should do a sheet pan class!” Now Melissa’s book isn’t a sheet pan book per se, but the cover has a glorious example of SP art and there are a few others to tempt you.  Having worked on several sheet pan meals over the last few months, I didn’t have to think twice about a fun new class.

DEFINITION OF A SHEET PAN MEAL: A sheet pan meal is a meal you make all at once on a rimmed sheet pan in the oven. Occasionally you use two pans (perhaps one for meat and another for vegetables) and sometimes there’s a rack on top of one so that that particular pan does double duty–as in today’s BACON WRAPPED PORK TENDERLOIN ON CABBAGE AND VEGETABLES with CARAWAY.  I originally made this starting on top of the stove in a large, deep sauté pan with a bit of a twist. I finished it in the oven:  See how here.

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WHAT’S A SHEET PAN, ANYWAY? Get a real sheet pan-– heavy-duty, restaurant-quality, and about 13x18x1. A jellyroll pan or a thin rimmed cookie sheet simply isn’t heavy enough and will warp.  You can also find great deals on sheet pans at warehouse stores like Costco or Sam’s. Just an fyi, the pan we typically make sheet pan meals on is actually a HALF-SHEET PAN in baking terminology. A whole sheet pan (as in a sheet cake you’d buy for a graduation from a commercial bakery) won’t always fit in a home oven. (Below:  Nordicware 1/2 sheet pan courtesy amazon.com)

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Next two photos:  the sheet pan class  (a. food at the ready to cook and b. dear students Judy, Tracy, and Helen)

While June isn’t especially sheet pan time, it may be for some of you in cooler climes or with steroid ac.  Here on the Colorado front range, our temps may drop quickly with afternoon rain and hail and provide more than the occasional cool evening for oven cooking.

Below: Pike’s Peak yesterday, June 6, 2017,  courtesy KKTV

Warm at your house? Keep this German-themed pork and cabbage goodie for the fall, but don’t forget about it.  There’s something cozy about that lean pork doing its bare dripping into those vegetables and making your house smell like Captain Von Trap singing, “Edelweiss.” If there are only two of you, of course you can halve the recipe. But do think about it because the leftovers are awesome. Even some pork tenderloin and bacon tacos might be perfect for the next day or two.  What else? I over the years have often sautéed mushrooms and onions, added chicken broth, cooked down a bit, added cream and the leftover diced pork, and served it over rice. There’s also nothing like a frittata with roasted pork and bacon. (Put FRITTATA in the search box right here on More Time and get a few ideas.)  But before you get to the leftovers, you’ll need to…

Try this:

SHEET PAN DINNER: BACON-WRAPPED PORK TENDERLOIN ON CABBAGE + VEGETABLES WITH CARAWAY

Serves 4-6      You can halve this recipe easily.  If you have no racks, just nestle the pork down into the vegetables.  At 140 degrees F, your meat should be rosy. If you like it a bit more done, finish it at 145 degrees F; it will come up to 150 degrees F while it rests.

Equipment needed:  2 sheet pans, 2 racks (such as cooling racks), Wooden toothpicks, Mortar and pestle or substitute (see below)

  • 4 cups cabbage, chopped
  • 2 Leeks, chopped–white and light green parts, only
  • 2 Fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced thinly
  • 2 carrots, trimmed, peeled, and grated
  • 3 tablespoons each:  olive oil and red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons each kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, crushed a bit (use mortar and pestle, meat pounder, clean hammer, or spice grinder)
  • 2 pork tenderloins
  • 4 pieces of bacon
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss together cabbage – caraway seeds.  Divide between two greased sheet pans. Top with a wire rack.  Pat the pork dry paper towels. Salt and pepper both tenderloins and wrap each with two pieces of bacon, securing bacon to pork with toothpicks at the end of each piece of bacon.  Place one pork tenderloin on each rack.  Roast until instant read thermometer registers 140 OR for about 35 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven, wrap meat and rest for 3 minutes or so. Stir and taste vegetables; adjust seasoning, if needed. Remove toothpicks (4 in each tenderloin) and slice meat into 1/2-inch pieces.  Divide vegetables between plates and top with a few slices of pork. Serve hot with fresh peas, if desired.

WINE:  Côtes-du-Rhône  (France) or an off-dry Riesling (Germany or Washington or New York state). A German beer might also work well.

{printable recipe}

What else was on the menu for the class?  Here are a few of the recipes we looked at:

One-Pan Salmon with Potatoes and Asparagus (not a sheet pan, but all in one pan)

BBQ Chicken Thighs with Cheesy Broccoli-Potatoes (Sheet Pan)
Dijon Salmon with Garlicky Green Beans (sheet pan)

Quiche for a Crowd

Rosemary Chicken Thighs and Butternut Squash with Onions

Sing a new song and get your sheet pan on,

Alyce