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Dinner for One: Panko Pork Loin

Posted by Shannon on 11/15/2011

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite Fall/Winter dishes was Shake & Bake pork chops, Kraft macaroni and cheese and some sort of veggie on the side. I dipped each bite of crispy, juicy pork chop into applesauce. I dunked each bite of mac and cheese into ketchup. These days I’ve got a bit more time to put my own spin on things. Last night for example. Steve is back at Total Access Recording Studio laying down some sweet, sweet grooves (music) this week, quite late into the evening. So that means dinner for one! Searched on Real Simple’s website, found this recipe, and mentally made a note this was my night to cook a grown-up spin on a childhood fav.

Recipe: Pork Loin & Balsalmic Roasted Cauliflower

Recipe: Pork Loin & Balsalmic Roasted Cauliflower

I went to Von’s and picked up my supplies then got home and pulled out the trusty skillet. The oven dial was set at 400 degrees while I heated up some olive oil. After a salt and peppering both sides both sides of pork loin, they went in the for a good browning on all sides for about five minutes.

Searing the pork in a skillet 

I took them out and let them cooldown for a minute. Then I brushed their outsides with Dijon mustard and coated them in Panko bread crumbs.

Brush with Dijon mustard and coat in Panko bread crumbs

Brush with Dijon mustard and coat in Panko bread crumbs

Those went into a glass baking dish into my preheated oven. I set a timer for 40 minutes, enough time to heat to the proper 160 degrees.

Cook pork to 160 degrees

During that time, I broke down a head of cauliflower into florets. Using the same skillet I seared the pork chops in (soak up that added flavor), I added a few tablespoons of olive oil, more salt & pepper, and threw in the veggies.

Cauliflower florets & Roma tomatoes
Peeking in on the veggies

The Real Simple recipe called for Peppadews and capers, but I just wasn’t feelin’ the strong, salty flavor of the capers last night. So I just substituted  balsamic vinegar and tomatoes in. They finished cooking before the pork loin was done, so I put the lid on and turned the heat off before the little tomatoes burst from the heat. I also put on a pot of pine nut couscous to cook. When the pork was at 160 degrees, I put them on a foil-covered cutting board to rest for a few minutes. The foil makes for easier cleanup (one less piece to wash!) The resting time is to give the pork’s juices time to reabsorb. Some people know this, and some people don’t, and for your dinner’s flavor’s sake it’s worth repeating… never cut a piece of meat immediately after removing from the grill/oven because all the juices will “escape.”

Let the pork rest five minutes before slicing

Let the pork rest five minutes before slicing

I turned the stove back on to a low heat to warm my veggies, then opened a beverage to accompany the meal. Reds go well w/ pork…and I just plain love my “cab sab” ;).

Project Paso cabernet sauvignon

Uncorking a 2009 Project Paso cabernet sauvignon

Time to plate up my dinner! After fluffing the couscous with a fork, I scooped a few spoonfuls into my dish. Carefully slicing a pork loin to avoid a loss of panko coating… I then put a few slices atop the couscous. Once I plated the warmed vegetables I sprinkled them with Parmigiano Reggiano.

Pork loin, pine nut couscous and balsalmic roasted vegetables w/ parmigiano reggiano

Pork loin, pine nut couscous and balsalmic roasted vegetables w/ parmigiano reggiano

Tada! Presentation counts, even if you’re dining by yourself. You still deserve a pretty place setting and ambiance to enjoy your culinary project!

Final plating

Dinner for One - Pork Loin w/ pine nut couscous & roasted cauliflower w/ parmigiano reggiano

Steve is back in the studio recording new Fallen Riviera songs this week. I dished him up a similarly pretty plate, tin foiled it and put it in the fridge for when he got home later, later that evening.


One Response to “Dinner for One: Panko Pork Loin”

  1. […] the fall neared its end, I found inspiration to cook for just myself one night in November. I’ve never thought solo dining was unpleasant or uncomfortable… […]

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