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Archive for March 9th, 2009

almond-crusted-pork-cutlets-005

Not all meat dishes are cause for rejoicing in our house. Griffin does love his meat but he’s pretty spartan about how he wants it served. A sauce is fine, marinade is fine or maybe something to dip it in because that is optional, but when it comes to a topping, something that is adhered to the meat, he’s tolerant of breading but that’s about it.  So he wasn’t overly thrilled about these Almond Crusted Pork tenderloins, even though it was his beloved meat.

Mike wasn’t exactly doing back-flips over it either. He’s a really good sport when it comes to what I cook though, and he did enthusiastically accept the meat, with it’s sweet and tangy Honey Mustard dipping sauce, but I could tell- from years of experience- that he wouldn’t be gunning for the leftovers. That’s my clue; he will eat the meal, give me a good review but then the leftovers languish in the fridge. It’s fine though. I had an inkling when I made it that it wouldn’t be tops for everyone, but that never stops me from experimenting. I’m the chief in the kitchen, and more than happy to cook up a special request for anyone, but when left to my own devices I will follow my heart whether anyone else is on board or not.

I did love these little pork tenderloins, but I adore pork in any form. I used to despise it, but it was because I was exposed to so many over-cooked and superbly dry pork dinners that I didn’t know any better. Once I realized at some point that pork could be tender, moist and delicious I really never looked back. Pork steaks, pork roasts, pork chops- I love them all- but tenderloin is my ultimate favorite and when faced with a special at the grocers on tenderloins for $5 a piece, I was idiotic not to grab one. This recipe, from the current issue of Eating Well magazine, was a nice choice too. The nuts are a pleasant change from pistachios, which seem to be everywhere these days, and they give a subtle flavor to the broiled pieces of meat when mixed with Panko crumbs and seasonings. Accompanied by Honey Mustard dipping sauce that you can whisk together while the meat cooks, the prep was simple and quick. The tenderloin can be cut into smaller pieces too- pork fingers, so to speak- as a way of offering finger foods to smaller eaters. Come grilling season (well for those of us still treading on frozen ground) this would be delicious done on a smoking hot grill.

Almond Crusted Pork Cutlets
From Eating Well magazine, April 2009

1 cup coarse dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 large egg white, beaten
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 425°F. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray. Place breadcrumbs, almonds, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a food processor; pulse until the almonds are coarsely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish. Place egg white in another shallow dish. Dip both sides of each pork slice in egg white, then evenly coat with the almond mixture. (Discard any remaining egg white and almond mixture.) Place the pork on the prepared rack and coat on both sides with cooking spray. Bake the pork until golden brown and no longer pink in the center, 16 to 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk honey, soy sauce and mustard in a small bowl. Serve the pork with the honey-mustard sauce.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 299 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 74 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 29 g protein; 3 g fiber; 561 mg sodium; 562 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Potassium & Zinc (16% daily value).
2 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 other carbohydrate, 3 lean meat

KATE’S NOTES:
I had whole almonds on hand and broke them up with a meat tenderizer before putting them in the food processor.

I did use the cooking spray on the tenderloin, but if I make this again I think I will skip that step. My pork didn’t want to brown up much in the oven and whether or not that was the culprit I don’t know, but it didn’t seem to do any good. I turned on the broiler and placed the pork under it until the coating was crunchier. Now if only I can quit setting off the smoke detector while cooking!!!

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