I’m always looking for new recipes and I found this one on a podcast from Whole Foods Market. It looked good and I liked the technique of cutting a pork tenderloin into pieces and then flattening them into cutlets similar to what you might do with chicken cutlets. It’s the first time I’ve ever prepared pork tenderloin this way and I will be trying this again. It’s a great alternative to grilling or roasting whole pork tenderloins. This recipe is for people who like a strong lemony flavor. The lemon jumps out and bites you in the mouth. Outstanding.
The podcast recipe served the pork with sautéed broccoli rabe and I duplicated it too. Broccoli rabe if prepared right is a great alternative vegetable to spinach or broccoli and full of healthy vitamins.
My only advice for this meal is to prep your ingredients before you start. (mise en place) My wife and I made this during the week and we were running late so we were cooking while prepping. A couple of the cutlets burned because I was not paying attention while getting the broccoli rabe ready. Not a big deal but better to have those ingredients ready to go.
Also, because it was just the two of us (my kids ate the pork without the sauce) I cut the butter by two thirds but if you were making this for 4 to 6, you would want to use the entire amount or you won’t have enough sauce.
Pork Tenderloin with Lemon, Capers and Olives
1 whole pork tenderloin (sliver skin removed)
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup or more flour for dredging
1 teaspoon salt to season flour
4 whole eggs
¾ cup fresh Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, grated
2 cups commercial breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
½ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons, garlic sliced thinly
1 small lemon, thinly sliced into quarters
1-tablespoon capers, drained
1/4 cup sliced mixed olives
1/3 cup white wine
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3-cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
How To Prepare At Home
Slice the pork tenderloin into 1-½ ounce pieces (about 1 ½ inches wide). Using a meat pounder or meat mallet, flatten each piece of tenderloin. Be careful not to over pound the meat or it will break apart and turn into mush. Pound the meat toward and away from your body, never straight down onto the meat.
Put the cutlets into a bowl and cover with buttermilk. Refrigerate the meat for at least 30 minutes up to a couple of hours. I have read that the calcium in the buttermilk is supposed to activate enzymes in the meat that break down proteins and I've also read buttermilk contains lactic acid that helps dissolve the meat's proteins. Not sure which is correct, but who cares, it works.
While the cutlets are marinating, get the rest of your ingredients ready. We used shallow soup bowls to layout the dunking stations. One bowl contained the flour seasoned with salt, another holds the eggs that are beaten and then seasoned with ½ cup of cheese and the last bowl has the breadcrumbs mixed with the remaining cheese, oregano and salt.
Using one hand for dredging in the flour and the other for dredging in the eggs and breadcrumbs, start dredging each cutlet in the flour being sure to shake off any extra before dredging in the eggs. Finally coat the pork with breadcrumbs and set aside until all are done.
Heat the biggest sauté or frying pan you have and add the canola oil. If your pan is not big enough to sauté all the cutlets without over crowding (steams instead of sautés), cook the pork in batches until nicely browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the cutlets to a plate and reserve.
Wipe out the pan you are using or start with a clean pan and heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the lemon slices and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add the capers and olives, then the white wine and cook until the sauce is reduced by half.
Add the lemon juice and parsley. Season the sauce with freshly ground pepper. Add butter in pieces, (this is called mounting) and whisk continuously until the sauce starts to thicken and has that glossy look. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Now add the cutlets back to the sauce to reheat for a minute or two. Plate the cutlets on top of or right next to the broccoli rabe, top with sauce and serve.
Don't be surprised when you take that first bite. The lemon is going to hit you square in the mouth. It's delicious.
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