A Sunday piece of meat

Sometimes, I find myself being surprisingly conservative. Sunday lunch is such a thing. Whenever I cook lunch on Sunday, it has to be something special. A dish that stands out. Today, I had pork fillet – one of my favourite pieces of meat. Pork fillet with mustard crust well deserves a Sunday. It’s very simple, but it’s very good. And it’s a good occasion to talk about marinating.

Marinating meat serves two purposes: flavouring and tenderizing. Mustard is indeed a great marinade. It flavours by the essential oils from the mustard seeds. It tenderizes due to its acidity, which originates from the vinegar content. How does acidity tenderize meat? The first mechanism is protonation of myofibrillar proteins, which causes an increase in intracellular water content. The second mechanism is a partial breakdown of perimysial collagen.

Pork fillet with mustard crust

Serves 4:
600 g pork fillet
2 heaped tblsp. coarse French mustard
4 rosemary sprigs
3 tblsp. clarified butter (or oil)
200 ml cream
200 ml German malzbier

Cut the pork fillet in two halves and trim off any visible connective tissue. Strip off the needles of two rosemary sprigs, chop them and mix with the mustard. Thoroughly rub the meat with the mustard, put it in a plastic bag, squeeze out the air and close the bag. Marinate over night in the refrigerator.

The next day, preheat your oven to 200 °C. With a teaspoon, remove the mustard from the meat. This is important since the mustard would easily burn and get bitter when you fry the meat. Put the mustard aside, you will need it for the crust. Rinse the meat under cold water and dry it off carefully with a paper towel.

Heat the clarified butter in a frying pan. Add the pork fillet and the remaining two rosemary sprigs. Quickly fry the meat on medium-high heat until golden on all sides, then transfer to a heat-resistant plate. Discard the rosemary sprigs and the butter fat. Now, spread the mustard over the surface of the pork fillet. Put the plate into the oven and cook for 12-16 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillet and the desired degree of cooking. I like it medium to medium well done.

In the meantime, pour the cream into the still hot frying pan and use a spatula to scrape off the brown bits from the bottom. Over medium heat, boil down the sauce by half. Then add the malzbier and season with salt and pepper. Heat the sauce over low heat, but do not bring to boil. This could cause the malzbier to get bitter. If you like, you can use a hand-blender to froth the sauce.

Take the pork fillet out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then cut into medaillons and serve with the sauce.


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