Turn pork tenderloin into 'steaks'

Strategy maximizes browned surface area, creates nice portions

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Pork tenderloin is a smart, versatile choice for weeknight meals. Here, it's handled in a way that will make you smack your forehead and wonder why you hadn't thought of it: The meat is cut into "steaks," which maximizes browned surface area and creates friendly portion sizes.

Not to be outdone: the sauce, which is thickened with toasted almonds and toasted whole-wheat bread cubes, then brightened with a splash of sherry vinegar.

Serve with a green vegetable, plus crusty bread for lapping up the sauce on the plate.

Pork Steaks With Creamy Almond Sauce

4 servings.

Adapted from “Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less,” by Ellie Krieger (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).

One 1-pound pork tenderloin

¼ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ medium onion

1 slice whole-wheat sandwich bread

8 to 10 stems flat-leaf parsley

4 cloves garlic

1 cup no-salt-added chicken broth, or more as needed

½ cup slivered almonds (skinless)

2½ tablespoons sherry vinegar

Trim off and discard the tenderloin’s silver skin and visible fat. Cut the meat in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise to create a total of 4 steaks. Season all over with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, swirl to coat, then add the pork, cut sides down. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side; the meat should be nicely browned, with just a hint of pink at the center (internal temperature of 145 degrees at the thickest part). Transfer to a plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil to keep it warm.

Meanwhile, cut the onion into thin slices. Cut the bread into small cubes, placing them in a small, dry skillet as you work. Pick enough leaves from the parsley stems to yield ½ cup loosely packed.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet in which you browned the meat. Add the onion, stirring to coat and to dislodge any browned bits in the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes or just until softened.

While the onion cooks, cut the garlic into thin slices, adding them to the onion as you go. Cook for about 1 minute, to soften the garlic. Add the broth and cook for a minute, until warmed through.

Add the almonds to the bread cubes in the dry skillet. Place over medium-high heat; toast the mixture for 4 or 5 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned, stirring often to avoid scorching. Remove from the heat; pick out and reserve a generous pinch of the toasted almonds.

Transfer the onion-broth mixture to a blender, along with vinegar, the remaining toasted bread-almond mixture, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and all but a generous pinch of the parsley leaves. Puree to form a smooth sauce (for about 30 seconds); add a little broth as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

Chop the remaining parsley leaves.

Uncover the pork; cut each piece into 4 or 5 slices. Spoon sauce on each plate, using all of it to create a bed for each portion of meat. Arrange the pork slices on top of each portion of sauce. Garnish with the chopped parsley leaves and the remaining toasted almonds.

Serve right away.

Per serving: 320 calories, 29 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 18 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar