Usually when a food is described as having a golden, crispy crust, frying and plenty of grease are involved.
But it doesn't have to be that way. With the right ingredients and techniques, flavorful, crunchy results can be had without all the fat.
This recipe for pork tenderloin in a golden, herbed crust is loosely inspired by a classic Japanese preparation of breaded, deep-fried pork chops called tonkatsu.
But rather than pork cutlets, this dish uses pork tenderloin, which is as lean as white chicken meat.
Deep-fried crusts do have loads of flavor, so for this pork tenderloin we compensate with loads of added flavorings in the coating.
A crumb mixture is made with panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs), which have a crisper, lighter texture than most breading. Panko can be found in the Asian section of most grocers.
The panko is combined with chopped fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary and minced garlic to create a flavor that's more Mediterranean than Asian.
You can substitute any herbs you prefer as long as you keep to these quantities. Instead of buying individual bunches, which can be pricey, look for packaged fresh herb blends in the produce department, as well as in the freezer case.
The bread crumb mixture is moistened with a small amount of healthy, extra-virgin olive oil, which distributes flavors and helps the crust to brown during roasting.
To make the crumb mixture stick, a coating of zesty Dijon mustard is applied to the tenderloin, rather than the more common beaten egg. This adds an extra burst of flavor without any additional fat.
Roast the pork tenderloin just until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 155 F; the internal temperature will rise to 160 F while the tenderloin rests for 5. Overcooking lower fat meats is a surefire way to end up with dry results.To complete this healthy meal, try serving the sliced pork with pureed sweet potatoes sprinkled with toasted chopped hazelnuts and some steamed broccolini.
PORK TENDERLOIN IN A GOLDEN, HERBED CRUST
Start to finish: 1 hour (15 minutes active)
3/4 cup panko (Japanese-style) bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-pound pork tenderloin
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly oil a wire rack or coat it with nonstick cooking spray. Set the rack in a baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oil, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Use paper towels to pat dry the pork tenderloin.
On a piece of plastic wrap, spread out half of the breadcrumb mixture in a strip as long as the tenderloin. Coat one side of the tenderloin with half of the mustard.
Turn the tenderloin over and set it down on the crumbs so they stick to the mustard. Coat the remaining surface of the meat with the remaining mustard. Press the second side of the tenderloin into the remaining crumb mixture.
Transfer the tenderloin to the prepared rack. Roast until the crust is golden, the tenderloin is barely pink in the center and the internal temperature is 155 F, 35 to 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.
Nutrition information per serving: 245 calories; 8 g fat (2 g saturated); 74 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrate; 26 g protein; 1 g fiber; 435 mg sodium.