Fresh cherries are in abundance! Display cases at markets everywhere are filled to overflowing with luscious and plump black cherries, rose and yellow-hued Queen Annes and tiny brilliant red sour cherries… each one a delightful inspiration for the chef and the baker alike! At this time of the year we tend to overindulge in one of our favorite savory cherry preparations, Escalopes of Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Bing Cherry Sauce. Escalopes is French for very thin, boneless slices of meat… we know them here as scallops. This dish couldn’t be easier to make, is beautiful in its presentation on the plate, and makes an incredibly fine main course to serve while enjoying a special occasion around the table!
First preheat the oven to 400°, then let’s pit the cherries! A must have kitchen tool for any chef who is obsessed with this wonderfully marvelous fruit is a combination olive/cherry pitter which can be found at stores that specialize in cooking tools and gadgets. Our local Sur la Table is one such specialty shop. Pitting cherries can be a messy task… cherry juice tends to fly in all directions! The pitter than we recently purchased has a removable plastic sleeve for easy clean-up… and it directs all of the juices downward into the bowl while pitting is being done. It’s a fabulous kitchen gadget!
1 lb fresh Bing cherries, yielding approximately 2 cups pitted cherries
Set the cherries to the side. Remove the silverskin from:
- 1 – 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb pork tenderloin
Depending upon its size cut the tenderloin into 6 – 8 pieces with a sharp knife:
Chef’s Note: Rather than using a meat pounder to flatten the individual pieces into scallops we prefer, and recommend, using the side of one’s hand to complete this step. Place the individual pieces of tenderloin on end, the cut side against the work surface, and gently pound them out thinly. By using the side of the hand the fibers of the meat are not damaged as they would be by using a metal pounder, therefore retaining cell structure and preventing the unnecessary loss of juices during the cooking process:
Season the scallops on both sides with:
- All-Purpose Meat Rub
To a heavy 12-inch skillet over moderate heat add:
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
Dredge the seasoned pork scallops in:
- all purpose flour
When the oil begins to shimmer in the pan arrange the seasoned and floured scallops in a single layer:
When lightly browned turn them and brown the other side:
To the pan add:
Place the skillet in the preheated 400° oven for 10 – 15 minutes. Transfer the scallops to a warmed pan or dish and cover with foil to keep warm while finishing the sauce.
Return the skillet to the stove top and, over moderately high heat add:
- 2 T (generous) sour cherry preserve
Chef’s Note: If available, we recommend an Italian product, Casa Giulia Amarene, or sour cherry preserve:
With a whisk incorporate the preserves into the pan juices. Add:
- the reserved pitted cherries
Continue cooking, sirring occasionally, until the juices have begin to thicken… by that time the cherries will be cooked perfectly! Check for seasoning. Adjust to taste with:
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Turn off the heat and add:
Swirl the pan around and across the still hot burner to distribute the butter and give the sauce its glossy appearance and texture… do not use a spoon to incorporate the butter into the sauce! Plate the tenderloin scallops and nap generously with the sauce. Serve immediately! We accompanied this exquisitely succulent dish with tossed greens and dilled new red potatoes… delicious! Bon Appetit!
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