Monday, April 27, 2009

Almond-Crust Pork with special sauce...

Since we've done chicken fingers and fish sticks before, how about we expand into some pork fingersticks? Okay, so maybe that isn't a word... we'll just leave it at Almond-Crusted Pork with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce instead.

Before I got my hands messy slicing up the pork tenderloin, I made the mixture we were planning on coating it with in the food processor. To give these a leg up into having a crispier edge since they will be baked, not fried, we used coarse panko breadcrumbs as part of that coating. If you have access to those whole-wheat panko crumbs, you'll also gain a bit more in the golden color department! To give the coating a nuttiness and a bit more texture, we also tossed in a half cup of slender sliced almonds - seasoned simply with granulated garlic, salt and fresh ground black pepper, we whirled that mixture around the processor bowl just long enough to break up the nuts.

When you go to slice the pork, try to keep consistent half inch pieces so they all cook at the same speed. Before we dragged them through the seasoned panko mix, we dipped the slices into a bath of beaten egg white so the coating would grab hold to the meat. To ensure the bottom of the pork doesn't turn soggy as it bakes, set the pieces onto a wire rack and then set the rack onto a baking sheet to catch any drippings. This way the heat can circulate around and crisp the bottom at the same time it does the top. I also like to set the breaded meat into the refrigerator for a short rest before they go into the oven - this also helps the coating adhere and dry out a tad.

While we waited for them to bake, we whisked up a mischievous dipping sauce to serve with these. Besides being so simple and pantry-esque, what made this sauce so good was the fact it hit a lot of points on the tongue - salty, sweet, tangy and spicy. To accomplish this, the sauce is composed of sticky honey, soy sauce, Dijon mustard and those fiery crushed red pepper flakes. By the time you've cleaned up and made the sauce, the pork should be ready - it only took a short 12 minutes to cook through!

Will the breading end up as shatteringly crisp like it would being deep fried? No, not exactly, but spraying the coated pork lightly with olive oil spray before baking does work well in adding to the crispness and you can relish in the thought of not adding a lot of fat! If you can't find regular or whole wheat panko, try making your own homemade whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Take a few slices of your favorite sturdy bread (crusts removed if you wish as they can end up being a little tough) and pulse them in the food processor until coarse crumbs - then scatter them onto a baking sheet and let them dry out in a 250 degree heated oven. You should get roughly 1/3 cup crumbs for every slice of bread used (depending on the size, of course).


  1. Pantry-esque? Love it!


  2. Quinn - Sometimes it's hard to come up with a new way to describe what I'm thinking in my head... hee hee!