Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 1-1.5 lbs pork tenderloin or pork cutlets
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 cups panko crumbs
- 1/2 cup brown rice or AP flour
- 1 lime for garnish and zest
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- pork lard, vegetable or peanut oil
Take the pork out and place on counter to come up to room temperature. Set up your “dredging line” with 3 shallow yet wide bowls or plates for the flour, beaten eggs and panko crumbs. Zest half the lime into the flour and mix in a pinch of salt with your fingers. Add Worcestershire and dijon mustard to eggs and whisk to combine. Add a teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper to the panko crumbs, mixing again with your fingers.
If cooking a pork tenderloin, take the meat and lay it out on a large cutting board. One side is the arrow head and one side is the tail that tapers off an inch or two from the end. Where the tail begins to narrow, slice and set that piece aside. Using the tip of your sharp knife, remove the arrow head so you’re left with one uniformly thick piece of meat. Set that extra meat aside, too. Now cut the tenderloin into evenly thick pieces to create 4-6 medallions (like pork filet mignon).
Using parchment paper, place one medallion at a time between two sheets. With the flat side of a tenderizer or cast iron pan, begin to pound the piece of meat, starting in the center with an outward sweeping motion, to increase the surface area of each piece while flattening. Aim for 1/8″ thickness. Since this cut is so tender, do not over pulverize or just spiked/ridged tenderizers. They will destroy each piece. If you don’t want to do this step, simply pick up a pound of our pork cutlets, which are pre-pounded pieces of pork top round. Salt and pepper each piece of pork.
Now that you have your pounded pieces of pork ready, heat your cooking fat/oil in a cast iron skillet on the stove top on high. (At this time you can also preheat your oven to a low 250F as a warm place to keep cooked pork.) Using clean, dry hands, dredge one piece at a time in flour and then the egg mixture, shaking off excess of either before continuing. Place in the panko mixture to coat completely. Make sure the pan is hot, but not too hot. Test it by flicking in some panko from your fingertips. If it’s clearly too hot (smoking and crackling a lot), remove the pan from heat until it subsides. If nothing happens, let it heat up for longer. If it’s just barely smoking and sizzles nicely, add the first piece by gently laying it into the pan, being careful not to overcrowd. Make sure the entire piece is laying flat on the bottom of the cast iron; press to sear if necessary. Move around in the pan to keep a light, airy exterior, allowing hot oil to come up on the sides for an even finish. Check for color, flipping only once the first side is golden brown. Should be approximately 2-3 minutes per side. When done, transfer pieces to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up excess oil, or place it directly on a baking sheet in the warm oven to keep hot until you’re ready to eat. Cover loosely with foil.
Repeat dredging and frying until all pounded pieces are crispy golden, adding more fat/oil between each batch as needed. You will likely be left with extra flour/eggs/panko. This is where those bonus pieces of pork tenderloin get their moment. Cube the pork into 1″ nuggets. With your hands, lightly coat the nuggets in flour, then the egg, then the panko. Add the nuggets to the same hot pan cooking on all sides until golden brown. Transfer to bowl for snacking before dinner, accompanied by a dip of mayo, 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil and chili paste/sriracha to taste.
When ready, serve cutlets on a platter with lime wedges and a small dish of honey mustard. Pork Katsu is a manageable weeknight meal that translates well into make-ahead lunches. Use it to top rice, grain or vegetable bowls, or stuff between two pieces of bread for a satisfying sandwich.