This dish is surprisingly elegant for a midweek meal. You might want to stash it in your cook-for-unexpected-company file. Pork tenderloin cooks fairly fast, and even faster when you whack it into thin cutlets.
Serve with steamed broccolini and/or roasted potatoes.
Adapted from "The New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: 150 Fresh Ideas for America's Favorite Pan," by Ellen Brown (Sterling Epicure, 2014).
Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin With Tarragon
Makes 4 servings
1-pound pork tenderloin
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large shallot
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 stems tarragon
3/4 cup no-salt-added chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine (may substitute 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar)
1 teaspoon sugar
Use a small, sharp knife to cut the silver skin and any visible fat from the tenderloin. Cut the meat into four equal portions. Place each one between 2 pieces of plastic wrap; pound to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Pat each piece with paper towels, then season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.
Mince the shallot and garlic; they can be combined.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of the butter; tilt the pan to coat it evenly. Add 2 of the pork cutlets and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate; cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Repeat with another tablespoon of the butter and the remaining 2 cutlets.
Finely chop the tarragon leaves.
Add the shallot and garlic to the skillet, stirring to coat. Cook for 1 minute, until the garlic is fragrant, then add the broth, wine and sugar. Squeeze in a tablespoon of lemon juice, being careful not to let any pits fall in. Increase the heat to high; stir to dislodge any browned bits and cook for 3 or 4 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by one-third.
Add any meat juices that have accumulated on the plate of cutlets. Whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter and the tarragon; cook for 1 minute, then pour the sauce over the cutlets. Serve right away.