The appeal of a dish consisting of just five ingredients is pretty obvious ‚Äî it’s easy to make and it takes almost no time to land on the table. Even so, it helps to start with a quick-cooking and naturally tender protein such as the pork tenderloin at the centre of this recipe for Cheesy Pork Steaks.
Like beef tenderloin, pork tenderloin is the most tender cut of meat on the animal because it’s a muscle that’s not used very much. And pork tenderloin will stay tender when you cook it ‚Äî as long as you don’t overcook it. Keep in mind that this is a lean cut of meat, meaning that it lacks the internal fat that could keep it juicy. Accordingly, you want to be vigilant about the prescribed cooking times and then, afterward, allow the steaks enough time to rest, meaning enough time for the internal juices to redistribute. (If you serve the pork without allowing it to rest, all the juices will stream out and the meat will be dry.)
Also, to be sure the cheesy crust stays firmly glued onto the pork, use a non-stick ‚Äî and properly heated ‚Äî pan before putting in the pork. (When the oil is properly hot it will start shimmering; that’s when you can reduce the heat to medium and add the meat.) Finally, don’t attempt to flip the pork until the time is up and you can see that it has browned.
Grating the cheese and prepping the other ingredients will only take about 10 minutes. Cooking the meat, likewise, takes 10 minutes. Given, then, how quick they are to make ‚Äî and how delicious they are to eat ‚Äî don’t be surprised if these cheesy pork steaks become a permanent part of your weeknight lineup. The crispy cheesy coating alone makes it a crowd-pleaser. You can serve it straight up with a spritz of lemon, but you’re welcome to dress it up a bit, topping it off with a marinara or mushroom sauce.
Start to finish: 20 minutes.
Makes 4 servings.
CHEESY PORK STEAKS
1 pork loin, trimmed (1 to 1 1/4 pounds)
1/2 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
1 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (a scant cup using a microplane)
1 large egg
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Lemon wedges for garnish
Slice the pork diagonally at a 45-degree angle into 8 pieces, each about 3/4-inch thick. Don’t worry if the pieces aren’t all the same size. Just make sure they are all 3/4-inches thick.
In a shallow bowl combine the crumbs and cheese. In another shallow bowl lightly beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Dip each piece of pork into the beaten egg, letting the excess drip off and then into the crumbs, packing the crumbs on all sides.
In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the pork pieces. Cook for 3 minutes. Turn the slices, add the rest of the olive oil to the pan, and cook 3 minutes longer until the pork is golden.
Transfer the pork to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer two pieces of pork to each plate and serve with a lemon wedge.