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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

*piggy hoagie.

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I thought I was biased because I have a disproportionate love for every kind of sandwich, but it turns out they really do make for ideal weeknight dinners: fast, low-stress, and ever so happy in your tummy.

I'm a relative purist when it comes to sandwiches; my favorite is a classic turkey + cheese + lettuce + tomato + onion + cucumber + mayo on wheat. That is my Subway sandwich, that is my Jimmy John's sandwich. I deviate in places, because I also love mustard and bacon and other ways to dress up the basic equation, but that's the foundation. When you get right down to it, Reuben, Cuban, club, ham, roast beef ... I love them all.

The best thing about this sandwich (adapted from a Giada de Laurentiis recipe) is that it's pork tenderloin, so you get that made-from-scratch flavor without really putting in too much work. ("Without really putting in too much work" is sort of the Woodside motto.)

The secret here, as most fast food joints will tell you, is in the sauce—a sweetly mustardy glaze with a bright bite of vinegar and a whisper of white wine, plus just enough thyme to make you think it's Christmas. I closed the lid on this sandwich and pressed down, giving the sauce a chance to soak into the bread and soften the inside while the outside stayed crunchy, like a French dip or any other yummy, roasted-meat-plus-au-jus sandwich. (You can easily serve any additional sauce here for dipping. Your fellow eaters will thank you.)

I was reminded in the course of this how nice it is to have a cast iron or enameled cast iron pan. Because nonstick does just that (discourages things to stick), you seldom get those yummy bits the Food Network people are always telling us to deglaze from the bottoms of our skillets. I used my trusty Le Creuset for this, and those porky nuggets really amplified in the sauce.

The tenderloin would be great on its own (sans bread) as a deceptively elegant but easy holiday meal—I mean, check out that crispety brown crust on the outside. That's just olive oil, salt, and pepper. Impressive enough for the in-laws, or other stereotypically hard to please people!

I served this guy really simply, with a tomato/mozzarella stack and sautéed French green beans. It'd be great with a green salad and roasted potatoes, too. These were hoagie rolls from my local Publix, and each accommodated about five slices of pork—given that I roasted up two pounds of pork tenderloin, that's a lot of sandwiches.

No complaints here!


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Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches with Honey-Dijon Sauce

Cooking spray
2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1¼ teaspoons black pepper, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 large shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup white wine
½ cup honey
½ cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 to 8 hoagie rolls, halved lengthwise
Garnish: fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Sprinkle pork with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, turning occasionally, 8 minutes or until seared and brown on all sides. Transfer pork to prepared baking sheet and roast 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion registers 160 degrees. Cover with aluminum foil and let pork rest 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet over medium-high heat; add shallots and remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook 3 minutes or until shallots soften. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in wine, deglazing pan; cook 1 minute. Whisk in honey, mustard, vinegar, and thyme. Simmer 2 minutes; stir in butter until melted and smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

4. Slice pork into ¼-inch slices; arrange slices on rolls, and top with desired amount of honey-mustard sauce. Garnish, if desired. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.

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