Tuesday, October 30, 2007

standards updated

Recently I've really been getting into sandwiches. But instead of sandwiches that press things together, I've been using them as platforms for ingredients. You can eat them as sandwiches, salads, or as an entree.

Here's a delicious, mild update to the southern pork bar-b-que sandwich. It's so far astray from the intense flavors of the southern standard that you might not recognize the connection, but the inspiration is completely derived from the Deep South's love of the pork sandwich.

Sesame encrusted pork tenderloin sandwich.

You will need. Number one. Some fine pork tenderloin, preferably from a local producer. I love pork tenderloin because it's lean, not very pricey, quick to cook, and versatile. It's mild flavor lends itself to many ingredients.

You will also need some very good bread. For this I used "Pepita Farmhouse Petaluma" which I got from Whole Paycheck. It was a few days old, which really didn't matter, because for the sandwich to be properly made, you MUST toast the bread. Toasting the bread seals the crumb so that it doesn't become soggy and limp. Nothing worse for a sandwich than soggy, limp bread. The Pepipita Farmhouse Petaluma bread is a wonderfully chewy mild sourdough full of pumpkin seeds. There aren't many dishes that can't be improved with seeds and this one has two kinds. Seeds are good for you. People who eat seeds and nuts are happier than those who don't.

Lesson number one. Being a little nutty is good for you.

Back to updating the standard.

Dredge the room temperature pork tenderloin in freshly cracked pepper, sesame seeds, and ground sea salt (easy on the salt, heavy on the pepper and sesame seeds).
Then, using a very hot pan coated with a mildly flavored oil such as canola or grapeseed oil, quickly sear the outside of the pork tenderloin. This takes no more than 3 minutes. One minute on each side (there are 3 sides to a triangle and a pork tenderloin). Once seared, pop the tenderloin in a medium oven (~375 F) for about 15 minutes. Overcooking the tenderloin is death to this sandwich and anything else involving this cut. Remove from the oven when the internal temperature is ~130 F. Cover with foil and let rest. It will continue cooking to mid-rare. You can do this the day before and refrigerate overnight if you wish, but if you take this approach, err on the side of under cooking, because you will finish just prior to serving.

Avocados. Get some and slice them thinly. For the mild sandwich, I use only the flavors of the bread, avocado, pork, and carrots (see below). You could put mayo on the bread, but if your tenderloin isn't overcooked, it isn't necessary. The avocado works in the place of the mayo.

The carrots are for the slaw. It's very simple, like the slaw for a pulled pork sandwich, but this one's only shredded carrots tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fine herbs. Easy on the fine herbs and the balsamic. Dash of salt and pepper. Let sit for a 10 minutes.

Assembling the sandwich. Plate the toasted bread, layer the avocado, and then...after the tenderloin has cooled, sliced thinly and then flash in the pan (30 seconds - no more) if you want the pork warm or more well done. Mid-rare is best. Not rare, not well-done, but slighty pink in the middle. Garnish with the carrot slaw and serve.

You're in business and we are updated.
m.o.i: standards updated

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m.o.i: bioaccumulation
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m.o.i.: life is corny
m.o.i.: Fruit cobbler for breakfast?
m.o.i.: post-modern breakfast

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