Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hand Breaded Pork Tenderloin How To - And You Will Want To

 Remember, I am from the "old school", better known as "the good old days".    I graduated high school in 1966 - a year most of you won't even remember.  As a matter of fact, most of you weren't even born then.  But let me tell you, we had a lot of fun back then.

We used to get in our cars (in my case, my parent's car), whether with friends or a date, and tool around town from one drive-in restaurant to another, visiting with our friends, eating, laughing, talking, cruising to see who was there, and then riding around some more.  Round and round from the Farmer's Daughter to Hamilton's Drive-In, out to the Double R, across town to Frisch's Drive-In and then back across town to the Parkway.  Then it was time to start the circuit all over.  Gasoline was $.24.9 cents a gallon.  Dan and I have cashed in many a coke bottle to go out on dates and buy gasoline.  Do you even know what it means to cash in coke bottles?  I know I'm old.  Sheesh.

Those were the days of carhops and window trays.  There were no drive through windows.  You pulled in to a parking place, placed your order on the speaker next to the car (each car had a speaker) and then a car hop - that was an employee of the restaurant - would bring your order out on a tray that attached to your car door.  You had to roll your window down for the tray to be attached.  Then, everyone ate in the car while all kinds of hilarity went on.  Yes, hilarity.  Those were some good times for sure.

Last week, a group of people I graduated high school with (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) were on Facebook talking about who had the best breaded tenderloin sandwich in town.  I am from Evansville, Indiana, in case you wondered.  That was a major discussion and made me start thinking about those delicious sandwiches that all the restaurants had.  If you have never had a breaded tenderloin sandwich, you have NO idea what you are missing.  I'll take one over a hamburger any day of the week.

I had tenderloin sandwiches on my mind, so I decided to make some for dinner last night.  I have made them through the years and thought I would share how to make them, because you really, really want to make these.  They are crisp on the outside, tender on the inside and SOOOOOOOO delicious.  Our youngest son is 25 and he declared them fabulous.  Our houseguest Ken also LOVED them.  Tyler's friend Craig, who may be one of the pickiest eaters on the planet devoured his in about 3.4 seconds.  They all ate two HUGE sandwiches along with parmesan potato wedges and oven roasted Brussels sprouts that are to die for.  (I will tell you how to make those in another post.)

Here is how you make these fabulous sandwiches.  First you need a pork tenderloin.  I buy mine at Aldi's.  They are only $3.99 for a plain tenderloin and you can make 5 or 6 sandwiches from one tenderloin.  (I cooked two whole tenderloins for dinner.  Yeah.  That looks like a lot until you have a lot of guys eating.)  You also need a meat mallet or a heavy cast iron skillet to flatten the individual portions out.

This is a pork tenderloin.
It will have what is called silver skin on some of it like pork ribs do.  Remove it with a sharp knife.  Cut the tenderloin into medallions about 1.5 inches thick,   I got 6 portions out of each tenderloin.
If you are having a bad day or feeling frustrated, here is where you can have some fun!  It's time to pound away until each medallion has been flattened and is really thin.  It's really cheap therapy!  Make sure you have something under them like a cutting board so you don't damage your counter tops.
Wow, I felt so relaxed after all that pounding.

Now, it's time to  make your "breading".  I use flour, egg mixed with milk, and crushed saltine crackers.  To crush the crackers, you can do it in a blender or food processor if you have one, but I do it this way.  I place an entire sleeve of crackers in a gallon sized zip lock back and use my wooden rolling pin to crush the crackers until they are a really fine consistency like bread crumbs.  It only takes a few minutes and you don't have to wash a food processor or blender.

Next, you need a breading station.  Did I take pictures?  Of course not.  Remember, we eat this food, it is not for a magazine display (I wish), so I get engrossed in what I'm doing and forget to take pictures.  Life can be difficult sometimes, hey?  Anyway, I use 3 of my antique Corning ware bowls that are square and flat on the bottom.  In one, I place all purpose flour.  In the second one, I crack two eggs and add about 1/3 cup milk and whisk it until well mixed.  In the third bowl, I put my cracker crumbs.

Time to start the ritual - the breading process.  Put a large saute skillet on the stove and put about an inch of vegetable oil in it and let it start getting good and hot.  Unlike Paula Deen, sadly I do not have a deep fryer built into my kitchen, so a skillet it is.  You want the oil to ripple, that's when you are ready to fry.

While the oil is heating, lightly salt a cutlet, dredge each side in flour, egg wash, and cracker crumbs.  Put them in a container (like a plate), until you are ready to fry.  When the oil is ready - go!
You will cook the cutlets approximately 3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown.  Turn the cutlets when you can see the edges turning brown on the side that is in the hot oil.  It's really easy.  This is how they look when finished.
Just look at the beautiful golden color.  They are not only good to look at, they are crispy, crunchy on the outside and super tender on the inside.  Now, you want to dress them "old school".  I like them with lettuce, tomato, dill pickles, mayonnaise and just a little dijon mustard.  That's my way.  I put all the condiments out and everyone fixed theirs the way they like it.
Put these on a nice fresh bun, decorate it to your liking and dig in.  Yes, they are twice as big as the bun.  That's the way they were back in the day.  I wish you could have been here to enjoy these with us, they were fabulous if I do say so myself.

We didn't have to get in the car and drive around for hours just to get one although that was most of the fun.  You can do these at home in your own kitchen and eat as many as you want for the price of one sandwich at most restaurants.  I know you are drooling just looking at this.  I know you want one.  Do it.  Make these.  You are going to love them!  Try on some "old school", you're gonna like it.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Everyone will have their "good old days."  You know, like when we walked to school up hill both ways in a foot of snow?  Oh, you don't remember those days?  You will.  Trust me.  Just wait.  donna





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