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I love smoked food. Smoked salmon is delicious, my favourite spice is smoked paprika, smoked cheese makes me happy, lapsang souchong (which is smoked tea) tastes fabulously decadent (even after my friend Christina described it as tasting like ham…), I was thrilled when I discovered smoked almonds at the supermarket and bacon is utterly pointless unless it’s smoked. Imagine my excitement when I discovered that Morrisons has just started selling cured, smoked pork tenderloin! We spied it last week, but it was somewhat too expensive. It was 1/3 off this week, so we snapped it up. You can, of course, use normal unsmoked pork tenderloin instead if you prefer.
A Man has made escalopes before and they were delicious, but a little on the dark side. This time he used one of our new kitchen toys – a cast iron frying pan that we didn’t need but only cost £5 so we had no choice but to buy it. The advantage of using cast iron for this sort of meal is that it heats up well, retains the heat and cooks evenly. It worked really really well! The schnitzel were perfectly golden, and tender and juicy on the inside.
We’ve been eating quite a lot of salad so far this month, after the disgraceful excesses of Christmas. I wanted salad with this meal (particularly as the escalopes are fried in butter!) but also wanted something a bit more interesting. This salad was delicious slightly warm, and we made a huge bowl full so there’s leftovers for me to take to work (yay!). The goat’s cheese was one of a selection of mini truckles that we bought just after Christmas for 20p each, which were reduced simply because they were mini truckles of cheese which apparently supermarkets only sell at Christmas. It added just enough of the cheesy taste without being overpowering. Yum!
The ingredients list is a bit ridiculous, but you can chop and change it as you please. And in case you’re curious, smoked cured pork tenderloin is fairly salty, and brilliant cooked like this.
Smoked Pork Schnitzel
1 smoked pork tenderloin (we cut ours in half and put half in the freezer as it was too big for two!)
Breadcrumbs (I usually have some in the freezer, but make fresh if you don’t have any)
1 red, 1 green and 1 orange pepper
3 small, fresh beetroots (with tops if possible)
1/2 butternut squash
Salt & pepper
1 beef tomato
1 small goats cheese log
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
- Preheat the oven to around 200OC/400OF/Gas mark 6. Slice the tenderloin into 3 slices per person. Sandwich each slice between two sheets of cling film or baking parchment and bash with a meat tenderiser until around 5mm thick. Mix the chopped parsley and zest of the lemon with the breadcrumbs. Dredge the pork first in flour, then beaten egg, then the breadcrumbs and set aside.
- Half the peppers and remove the seeds. Chop the tops off of the beetroots and half. If they are young enough, you can eat the skin. Chop the stalks off of the fennel and discard, but keep any fronds. Cut the 1/2 fennel in half again, keeping the core to hold the layers together. Slice the butternut squash and carrots into fingers, leaving the skin on. Place all of the veg on a baking tray and season well with fennel seeds, thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle with a good amount of olive oil (this won’t be wasted – it’ll be used to dress the salad). Place in the preheated oven for around 1/2 hour, or until all of the veg (particularly the beetroot) is completely roasted.
- Whilst the veg is cooking, very finely chop the beetroot tops and place in a large salad bowl. Finely chop the fennel fronds and add to the beetroot. Chop the tomato and romaine, and add these and the rocket to the bowl. Slice the cheese and add this. Set aside for the time being.
- Boil the new potatoes. Mix the finely chopped onion with the mustard, a small squeeze of lemon juice and a spoonful of mayonnaise. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, cool slightly and mix with the mayo mix. Add more mayonnaise if you like, but you don’t want it to be swimming in the stuff.
- Once the veg has fully cooked, remove from the oven. Place the frying pan on a medium-high heat and melt the butter. Turn the oven off, but place a plate in there to warm up. Chop the veg into bite sized pieces, mix the oil and herbs on the tray with the remainder of the squeezed lemon juice. Add the veg to the salad bowl, stir the oil and lemon juice well and pour over the salad. Toss the salad well.
- Once the butter is bubbling, fry the schnitzel a couple at a time until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, turning occasionally. Don’t crowd the pan or they won’t cook properly. Once each batch is cooked, place them on the warm plate in the oven.
- Plate up once the schnitzel is fully cooked and enjoy with a nice cold G&T!