Quick, easy, simple—a delicious way of cooking that welcome sign of spring is roasting asparagus. But be warned—it is addictive. I’ve been known to eat an entire bunch of roasted vegetables. At. A. Single. Sitting.
- large, shallow baking pan or cookie sheet, preferably with a lip to corral errant spears
- silicone baking sheet or foil (optional)
- 1 bunch green or purple asparagus, washed, dried, and trimmed of woody ends if necessary
- Olive oil
- salt and pepper
How to roast the asparagus
- Preheat oven to 350°F (~176°C)
- Place asparagus spears onto baking sheet; use a silicone sheet or foil if you wish—I do, because it makes cleanup easier
- Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Rotate the spears to make sure that the oil, salt, and pepper is on all sides.
All prepped up and ready to go (into the oven!)
- When the oven is hot enough, place the sheet of asparagus inside
- Roast for 6-7 minutes
- Remove sheet from oven, turn spears over, and return to oven to roast for another 5-10 minutes—the time will depend on the thickness of the spears. You may wish to check after 5-6 minutes and remove the ones that appear done, which you’ll note by some the crispy tips and possibly brownness on the tips as well.
- Eat! These are good warm or at room temperature. Or the next day, straight from the fridge, directly in one’s mouth. I mean in theory. I certainly wouldn’t know firsthand how delicious eating several spears while preparing a breakfast can be.
- Don’t throw your asparagus trimmings (or most any non-brassica vegetable1 trimmings) away! They can be used to make a delicious asparagus-flavored stock, handy to have on hand for soups, risottos, even egg poaching liquid! Just save your trimmings in a freezer bag (in the freezer, of course) until you have enough for stock. No need to thaw–just throw in to the water during your Stock-a-thon!
1The brassica family includes some rather aromatic vegetables, such as cauliflower and cabbage.
These thin-pounded pork medallions, soaked in a seasoned buttermilk mixture, then breaded and fried, are served on a bun with an array of the requisite condiments: lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, ketchup, mustard. Practice safe tenderloining—use condiments!
This recipe makes approximately 8 sliders
To make these babies (and boy, would they be welcome appetizers at a party!), you’ll need the following:
- sturdy pan, Dutch oven or skillet (for frying)
- bowls and plates (for dipping and dredging)
- cutting board
- sharp knife
- meat mallet or some other pounding tool
- a good appetite!
- 1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of the silverskin (1 to 1.5 lbs or so—DO NOT use the preseasoned ones sold at many supermarkets; get the naked ones instead, since you’ll be clothing them with crumbs anyway)–if your tenderloin is on the larger side, you will need more buttermilk and spices
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper (freshly ground is best!)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 2-1/2 cups plain, dry breadcrumbs (can also use cracker crumbs)
- extra salt and pepper for the breading step
- vegetable oil for frying (neutral-flavored, please–this is not the time for your extra-virgin, cold-pressed oil from Tuscany or your estate-pressed walnut oil)
- 8 slider buns1 (or soft, white hamburger buns cut into slider-sized portions)
Making the Sliders
- Before you do anything, read through the recipe!
- First, cut off the tapered end and then slice the tenderloin into 6-8 pieces, no more than 1-inch (2.54 cm) thick.
- Next, use your mallet to pound the tenderloin pieces to a thickness of approximately 1/4 inch (~6.5 mm). You may wish to do this between pieces of plastic wrap.
- In a bowl, mix the buttermilk with the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
- Coat the bottom of a shallow pan large enough to hold all pieces of pork (like a lasagne or baking pan) with some of the buttermilk mixture. Then place the pork pieces into the pan. Cover with the rest of the buttermilk mixture. The pieces should be covered.
- Place pan in refrigerator and marinate for 2-6 hours.
- Remove your pork from the refrigerator.
- Mise en place! Prep an area for dredging and breading. Set up a plate with the flour (feel free to season the flour with extra salt and pepper). Then crack the eggs into a shallow bowl and beat them so that the whites and yolks are well mingled. Set up a plate with the bread crumbs, which you can also season with salt and pepper.
- Set up another plate with paper towels. You’ll need this to drain the sliders.
- Add about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) of oil in your pan or Dutch oven. Heat over medium-high (not high) until hot (350°F/177°C). FYI, I don’t measure temperature–I just judge it.
- Take a piece of the pork and dredge it in the flour. Shake off the excess, then coat it with the egg, letting any excess drip back into the bowl. Then, dredge in the bread crumb mixture.
- Add the pork to the hot oil. Repeat for another piece of pork, adding them to the pan without crowding. You will probably have to cook these in batches.
- Cook the pork tenderloin medallions until browned (but not burned!) for approximately 2 minutes, then flip and cook until the other side is browned, another minute or two.
- Remove from pan and drain on paper towel-lined plate.
- Assemble the BPT Sliders–place a piece of pork on a bun, add your condiments (lettuce, pickle, onion, tomato, mustard),
and, if necessary, secure with a toothpick. Enjoy!
1I could not find slider buns at my local supermarkets, but I did have this contraption that I got at Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table that allows me to cut a regular bun into a slider-sized one. I imagine a biscuit cutter works just as well. Alternatively, you can use dinner rolls or, if you’re really ambitious, bake your own.