Call me closed-minded, but pork tenderloin is pretty much the only part of the pig that I buy. Pork chops are boring and pork roasts come in 70-lb chunks. Wait, what am I saying? There's always bacon! Mmm....bacon, excuse me for a moment...
Ok, when you don't feel like smoking up your house or covering your stove in grease spatters or dying young like Dr. Atkins, choose a more healthful part of the pig that is a snap to divvy up into 1- or 2-person-sized portions.
Take the pork tenderloin medallion. Get the slim cylinder, slice it in 1-inch pieces, then simply sear on either side and you've got a meal in less than 10 minutes (I'm not kidding). Plus, these little beauties lend themselves to endless variation. I'm using a plum sauce here but you could do an apple-sage-cream medley, a little caramelized onion crown, or even some Asian-style sticky orange business. And it can all be done IN THE SAME PAN after you've seared the pork.
As if you need another reason, pork tenderloin medallions are perfectly delicious the next day. I like to slice them up for, ahem, salad, but David prefers to just stick the entire plate of leftover (if such a thing happens) in the micro and have at it.
Port Tenderloin Medallions with Spicy Plum Sauce
For the pork:
1 pork tenderloin
Salt and pepper
For the sauce:
3 medium plums
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 Tbsp rice wine (or red wine) vinegar
2 shakes powdered ginger
Red pepper flakes, Tobasco, or other face-kicking spice
Trim the pork tenderloin of all silvery skin. Slice in 1-inch medallions, then turn them flat and slightly press them to flatten. Salt and pepper both sides. Heat canola oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat (smoking!). Place the medallions in, trying not to overcrowd the pan (do two batches if you need to).
Cook 2 minutes. Flip. Cook 2 more minutes. Remove to a plate and cover with foil. Let sit for 5 minutes--they will continue to cook. This would be a good time to make a pan sauce, if you like.
For the sauce: Place chopped plums, onions, and garlic in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Let them sweat for 5-6 minutes, they'll produce their own liquid. Stir to keep from sticking/burning. Add soy sauce, juice, vinegar, and ginger and bring to a boil. Continue to cook 5 more minutes, reducing heat if needed, until nice and thick. Add spicing element to taste. Pour over tenderloin after its sitting period.
p.s. That pile of green you see on my plate? couldn't be simpler braised cabbage. Slice up some cabbage and 1/2 small onion. Heat a little oil, then throw the onions and cabbage in, toss around for about a minute. Splash the pan with about 2 Tbsp broth, then cover. Cabbage will cook itself. Season with plenty of S&P.