Pork Fillet with a Grainy Dijon Mustard and Tarragon Crust
by eat in my kitchen
I don’t need meat on my table often, once a week is enough for me, but on some days my hunger needs more than just vegetables. This week I got hooked on a nice piece of pork fillet which when properly prepared is uncomplicated, juicy and also great as a leftover meal. I bought a whole 600g (1.5 pounds) of fillet knowing that it would be a bit much for the two of us but we were happy to enjoy it the next day, cold cuts at its best!
Pork fillets are always delicious in combination with herbs, with sage for example, you could wrap the meat in prosciutto similar to a Saltimbocca alla Romana but I felt like mustard, a spicy, grainy mustard crust enhanced with the flavours of tarragon. When I make a crust, I like a thick, slightly crunchy cover on the meat, concentrated and strong. The classic Dijon mustard with its fine spiciness would work as well but the rougher, grainy one makes a better crust. Dijon mustard’s history goes back to 1856, when Jean Naigeon of Dijon first substituted verjuice (the acidic juice of unripe grapes) for the normal vinegar.
Sometimes, meat dishes are quicker and easier to prepare than vegetarian meals, this is one of them. I mixed the ingredients for the crust in a blender, fried the meat and baked everything in the oven for just 15 minutes. After frying the meat, I deglazed what was left in the pan with vermouth which turned into a thick juice. The meat didn’t really need a sauce but it was nice to dip it into this concentrated syrup.
Pork Fillet with Mustard and Tarragon Crust
For 4 people you need
pork fillet, one piece of 600g / 21 ounces
butter 40g / 1.5 ounces
bread crumbs 20g / 3/4 ounce
whole-grain Dijon mustard 3 heaped tablespoons
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
tarragon, chopped, 14 leaves
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying
vermouth, 150ml / 5 ounces
Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (top/ bottom heat).
Mix the butter, bread crumbs, mustard, garlic and tarragon in a blender and season with salt and pepper. Roll out the paste between 2 layers of cling film, it should have roughly the shape as the pork fillet.
In a large heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil on high temperature and fry the meat seasoned with salt and pepper for a few minutes until golden brown on all sides. Take the meat out of the pan and deglaze the bits and pieces left in the pan with the vermouth. Let it cook for 30 seconds, season with salt and pepper and take off the heat.
Put the meat into a baking dish, cover with the mustard butter paste and press it softly onto the meat. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, switch to grill function and let the crust turn brown and crisp for 3 minutes.
Serve the meat in thick slices with a few drops of the thick concentrated vermouth sauce.