Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cooking like an Iron Chef

No, our cooking skills aren't that good. We've never taken a professional cooking class and our knife skills are rudimentary at best. In fact, they're so rudimentary that I started to take a piece off my thumb while attempting to cut a baguette last night.

I'm referring to a (reasonably?) new show on the Cooking Channel featuring Iron Chef Michael Symon. I thought it might be hokey at first, but the premise is simple - pick a "secret ingredient" and cook 3 dishes with it. The episode featuring pork got my attention - he made a pork tenderloin dish in minutes using only one pan.

Not only did it take less than 10 mins to cook (with maybe 10 mins prep, at most), it's really, really good. The sweetness of the dates cut the richness of the bacon with the pork, and the lemon zest adds an unexpected brightness to what could be a very heavy dish. This is one we'll be adding to our weeknight repertoire.

Pork Tenderloin with Bacon, Chile Flakes, Toasted Almond and Parsley 

Recipe courtesy Michael Symon

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons blended oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 (1 1/2-pounds) pork tenderloin, cut into 2 1/2 to 3-ounce medallions
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 thick slices bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds to pan, to toast
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup pitted, chopped dates
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • About 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley, leaves picked and chiffonade
  • Kosher salt 

Directions

Place a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons blended oil. Season the medallions with salt and pepper on both sides. Once the oil is heated, add the seasoned pork to 1 side of the pan and sear on both sides, about 2 minutes each side. To the other side of the pan, add the bacon and allow to start to render.

Once the bacon has started rendering and the pork is flipped, add the almonds and butter to toast. Next add the dates, red chile flakes, garlic, chicken stock, lemon zest, and juice. Allow to simmer briefly then remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Taste and season with a pinch of salt, if needed

Place 2 of the medallions onto a plate and top with the dates, almonds, bacon and drizzle of the sauce.

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