Carla Hall’s Poppy-Seed Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Herb Crust

The ebullient Carla Hall, the “Top Chef” fan favorite who is now in her third season as a co-host on ABC’s “The Chew,” just released her second cookbook: “Carla’s Comfort Foods” (Atria Books, 2014).

It’s filled with useful information (including an international spice chart to help you experiment with flavors) and charming anecdotes from Miss Carla herself, like the one that accompanies her recipe for this juicy pork tenderloin with a Hungarian accent.

“Chef Curtis Stone came on ‘The Chew’ as a guest and did this quirky thing to his roast: He finished cooking it, the he coated it with minced fresh herbs. I had used that technique on goat cheese before, but never thought to try it with meat. That hit of freshness over the rich meat was amazing. I said to him, ‘Oh, child, that’s worth stealing.’ I wasn’t kidding! Here, I’ve decided to add another layer of flavor by spice-rubbing the meat before cooking it and then coating it with the herb mix after. It tastes so complex, but it’s so easy! Thank you, Curtis.”  (Carla’s Comfort Foods, p.147)

Carla Hall’s Poppy-Seed Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Herb Crust
Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 whole (12- to 14-ounce) pork tenderloin
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, combine the oil, paprika, poppy seeds, cinnamon, salt and white pepper in a small bowl. Rub this all over the pork and stand on a rimmed baking sheet at room temperature until the oven is ready.

2. Roast the pork until it registers 135 degrees for medium, about 15 minutes.

3. While pork is roasting, tear a sheet of parchment paper the length of the tenderloin. Sprinkle the dill and parsley in an even layer on the paper.

4. Roll the cooked pork in its pan juices, then transfer it to the fresh herbs and roll it in the herbs to coat evenly. Let the pork stand for 5 minutes, then cut into slices at an angle and serve.

Carla’s Tip: If your tenderloin has a tapered end that’s half the thickness of the rest of the loin, tuck it under for even cooking. Or you can leave it and serve it to anyone who prefers their pork really well done.