Thursday, March 16, 2017

Pork Loin Cutlets with Asparagus Mushroom Crème

     A Quick Easy Café Style Pork Entrée For A Modest Price!
     Today's pork loin cutlet entrée is an item that I sold as a lunch special du jour at a French café back in the 1980's.  The idea was to create a rich tasting pork entrée that was made with a veal sauce, which could sell for a lower than average menu price in an effort to please value oriented customers that were shopping in stores nearby.  Casual diners during a lunch shift tend to shy away from gourmet food items like veal because of the price, but when chicken or pork is prepared with a veal sauce, the item is nearly irresistible.  Even though casual day time shoppers may not be familiar with fine dining veal sauces or fancy food in general, the goal was to give this kind of customer something to talk about.  For example, when an inexperienced customer is satisfied with a tasty modest price lunch at a French café, the customer tells friends something like "I had the pork cutlets lunch special at that French restaurant at the plaza for less than $10 while shopping the other day and the sauce was fantastic!  We all need to do lunch there sometime, because I know you will be pleasantly surprised!"      
     Offering a low price lunch entrée that has a fancy sauce is an age old marketing strategy that inspires word of mouth liquid advertising.  A strategy like this cannot be done only once or it will be viewed by customers as being a misrepresentation.  As a lunch shift sous chef, I usually offered two to five special du jour items on a special board each day.  I always offered one bargain price item that was made with low cost meat or seafood.  The idea was to attract value oriented customers that would not normally do lunch in a French restaurant.
     By offering a low price protein like pork, chicken, farm raised seafood or a low demand ocean fish for a low special menu price, the food cost could be kept in the 20% range, even though the item was topped with a fancy sauce.  Extra effort went into making a nice sauce for cheap protein items, so the guest's perception of dining value remained high and the customers thought that they got a good bargain.
     Honestly, by using lunch special du jour marketing strategies like this, I was able to increase the average customer flow numbers at that French café from the day I started work till the day that I moved on.  When I first started, the café was doing an average of 20 customers for lunch.  When I left the job, the café was doing well over 180 customers each lunch shift.  It just goes to show that carefully marketing nicely prepared profitable low cost items that can be sold for a bargain price is an effective strategy for increasing business flow.  Word of mouth got around and value oriented shoppers looked upon the French café as a viable place to do lunch and enjoy a glass of good wine.  These same customers also returned to try the traditional French food items that sold for regular menu prices.  This all happened back in the days when everybody thought that French food was only high price gourmet food.  Breaking that stereotype was the key to success at that French café!
     Today's pork loin cutlet entrée is made with Italian sauté techniques.  This means that the featured protein, garnishes and sauce are all prepared in the same pan.  The french cooking method would involve making the sauce and garnishes ahead of time, but this is not always a wise thing to do in a restaurant that has fluctuating customer flow numbers, because a quantity of leftover sauce will end up going to waste and this drives up food costs.  Even so, cooking 10 to 40 Pork Loin Cutlets with Asparagus Mushroom Crème to order, along with the rest of the menu items during a lunch shift is something that a good sauté can do and this is how I eliminated waste costs in the French café.
     In a home kitchen, cooking an item like Pork Loin Cutlets with Asparagus Mushroom Crème is great for those who live an active lifestyle, because the preparation time is minimal.  The cost is relatively cheap too.  Today's bargain priced fine dining pork loin cutlet recipe can be made in less than 15 minutes and the rich flavor will certainly will please guests!      

     Pork Loin Cutlets with Asparagus Mushroom Crème:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Dried wild mushrooms like Chanterelles, Porcine, Ceps and Morels can actuall be used like a spice when they are ground into a powder form.  One pinch of ground dried Porcine adds a rich wild mushroom flavor to a sauce.  
     Step 1:  Select 2 boneless pork loin cutlets that weigh about 3 1/2 ounces apiece.
     Use a meat mallet to slightly flatten the pork cutlets.  Try not to pond the cutlets too thin!
     Lightly season the pork cutlets with sea salt and black pepper.
     Lightly dredge the pork cutlets in plain flour.
     Step 2:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add the prepared pork cutlets.
     Sauté the cutlets on both sides, till golden brown highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Add 1 clove of chopped garlic.
     Add 1/4 cup of Button Cave Mushrooms that are cut into thin wedges.
     Sauté till the mushrooms are partially cooked.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 2 pinches of Ground Dried Porcine Mushroom.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce till the volume of wine is about 1/4 cup.
     Step 5:  Add 1/4 cup of light pork broth or chicken broth.
     Add 1/2 cup of cream.
     Add about 1/3 cup of fresh Pencil Asparagus Tips.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is a medium thin consistency that can easily coat a spoon.
     Remove the pan from the heat.

     This recipe yields 1 plated entrée.
     Step 1:  Place the 2 pork loin cutlets on the front half of a plate.
     Spoon the Asparagus Mushroom Crème Sauce over pork cutlets and onto the plate.
     Step 2:  Serve with vegetables of your choice.
     *The entree in the photographs above was served with Jalapeño and Monterey Jack Cheese Polenta that was piped onto the plate with a star tipped pastry bag.  A seasoned grilled whole plum tomato and steamed snow peas are nice vegetable choices too.
     No extra garnish is necessary.  

     Viola!  Bargain priced sautéed pork cutlets with a tasty veal sauce that can be made with very little preparation time!

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