Monday, September 14, 2009

A Taste of Iowa

Recently, while sorting through my skyscraper-like pile of foodie magazines, I came across a recipe that intrigued me. The recipe was for "Crispy Iowa Skinnies". Since I've never been anywhere near Iowa, these were a mystery to me. Iowa Skinnies are chunks of pork tenderloin, pounded flat, and breaded with a mixture of fresh bread crumbs and cracker crumbs, which are then pan fried and served on a soft white bun with shredded lettuce and tomatoes. One bite of this delicious sandwich and I was hooked. The combination of the two types of crumbs gave the pork a wonderful crunchiness, which provided the perfect contrast to the melt-in-your-mouth tender pork. With my "Skinny", a crunchy dill, and some oven baked fries I was a happy girl! This sandwich even got a thumbs up from my super-picky husband. While Iowa may not exactly be known as a culinary Mecca, if these sandwiches are any indication I'm ready to pack my bags and explore the possibilities.

Crispy Iowa Skinny
Serves 4
This sandwich showcases tender pork pounded thin, battered, and pan-fried to a crunchy golden brown.
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise , plus extra for serving
3 slices hearty white sandwich bread , torn into rough pieces
16 Saltine crackers
1 cup vegetable oil
4 hamburger buns
1/4 head shredded iceberg lettuce
1 medium tomato , sliced

First, prepare pork cutlets:

1. Use a paring knife to remove any silver skin or extraneous fat from the tenderloin.
2. Cut the tenderloin into 4 equal pieces.
3. Arrange pieces of tenderloin cut side up on cutting board. Cover with plastic wrap and pound into 1/4-inch-thick cutlets.

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Pat pork cutlets dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
2. Place flour in shallow dish. Beat eggs and 1/4 cup mayonnaise in second shallow dish. Combine bread and saltines in food processor and pulse to fine crumbs; transfer to third shallow dish.
3. Coat cutlets in flour, shaking off excess. Dip both sides of cutlets in egg mixture, then dredge in crumbs, pressing on crumbs to adhere. Place cutlets on wire rack set over baking sheet and let dry 5 minutes (or refrigerate up to 1 hour).
4. Heat 1/2 cup oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Lay 2 cutlets in skillet and fry until crisp and deep golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to large paper towel-lined plate and place in warm oven. Discard oil, wipe out skillet, and repeat with remaining oil and cutlets. Place 1 cutlet on each bun and top with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. Serve.

Recipe from Cook's Country Feb. 2007

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