the appetizer:

Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat by Deborah Krasner includes recipes like Merguez Sausages; Beef Tongue with Sweet-and-Sour Sauce; and Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Vermouth Sauce.

Cookbook Profile

Pork Tenderloin Medallions
with Vermouth Sauce
made with Orange Zest, Mustard, and Cream

Serves 3 or 4

Pork Tenderloin Medallions


Tenderloin: Every side of pork has only one, so the tenderloin is a precious commodity. It's all too easy to overcook when roasted, which is why I suggest cutting it into medallions and pan-frying for ease of control.

The tenderloin that came with my Berkshire half pig totaled 3/4 pound, and when cut yielded nine medallions, enough for three people as part of a larger meal. I like to serve it with rice or mashed potatoes—either starch is delicious with the sauce, and both take longer than the 5 quick minutes you'll need to prepare this main course.

Blot the tenderloin and put it on a cutting board, straightening it as much as possible. Using a very sharp knife with a long, thin blade, carefully cut the tenderloin crosswise into 1-inch slices. Shape each round to be as even as possible before placing it on a rack to dry. Because tenderloin tapers at both ends, the last two pieces will not be round. Combine them into one piece, using a piece of kitchen twine or toothpicks to hold them together in a yin and yang pattern. Salt the medallions lightly on top and air-dry them at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Choose a heavy sauté pan or cast-iron griddle large enough to hold all the medallions in one layer. Melt the butter and oil in the pan over medium heat until the mixture is fragrant and liquid. Place the medallions in the hot fat (they should sizzle), and fry for about 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second side, or until cooked in the center and browned and crisp on the outside. Using tongs, transfer the meat to a platter to rest.

Make the sauce by deglazing the pan with the vermouth, scraping up any browned bits and boiling off the alcohol to reduce the volume by half. Turn off the heat and stir in the orange zest, mustard, and cream. Spoon this over the medallions and serve at once, showered with a little parsley.

A Kitchen Ruler

It is for just such projects as cutting medallions from the tenderloin that I keep a ruler in my kitchen drawer—plastic, so it can go in the dishwasher. If you don't have a ruler handy, the length of your thumb from tip to knuckle is almost always a true inch, remarkably.


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This page created February 2011