Monday, May 7, 2012

Fried Breaded Tenderlion Sandwich




The breaded pork tenderloin is Iowa's version of a sandwich.  I’ve traveled much of the United States and you can’t find these everywhere.  When I came home to Iowa, one of the first things I would do was go buy a tenderloin.  Back in the 60’s when I used to work at Hayes Café, we made our own and this is the simple recipe.

1 pounded pork tenderloin slice
1 egg
Crushed saltine crackers (with salt)

Slice your tenderloin about 1” thick from the uncooked pork lion and pound it until it is about ¼ inch thick.  If you don’t want the tenderloin larger than the bun, then start with a thinner slice.  I put mine in a plastic baggie and pound it until it’s thin.  Don’t make it too thin or it will be too dry.  Thicker is better than too thin.  You want to be able to taste the meat and you want it juicy.  I’ve had some really bad ones that tasted like cardboard because they were too thin.

Dip you pounded lion slice into the egg wash and then into the crushed crackers.  Again I use a baggie and crush my crackers until they are quite fine.  Let it sit and dry a bit before putting it into the oil. 

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Deep fry in vegetable oil until it is golden brown on both sides (4 to 5 minutes on each side).  Drain well on a paper towel. Serve on a large toasted bun.  I like just mustard, ketchup and pickle on mine.  They are usually served with a slice of onion on the side.  Some people like them with mayo, lettuce and a tomato.  My son likes a slice of American cheese on his.  They are usually served with French fries in a basket.  If they are too big, I end up cutting it in half and taking half of it home for my supper or sharing it. 

Restaurants in Iowa brag about having the biggest and best one in the state and if I see them on the menu I like to try them to rate how good they really are.  There is a little place in Solon, near Cedar Rapids that served me my biggest and I must say very good tenderlion.  It was the size of a dinner plate.

I like the cracker crust the best.  Some have made a batter coating that was good, but being a traditionalist, I have to go with the traditional one I know from Hayes. 

You can buy them already breaded in grocery stores here in Iowa.  If you haven't had one, make some.  If you have, have it again for supper.  Family will love you for it.  

Be happy and may God bless you and yours.    

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