"Don’t let the name fool you–the crunchy, fried pork tenderloin sandwich known as the “skinny” is not light fare. All over Iowa, pork tenderloins are pounded thin, breaded, fried, and served on hamburger buns. A trimmed pork tenderloin was the key ingredient, sliced into four even pieces and pounded into almost comically oversize cutlets. For the breading, the cutlets were coated with flour, dipped in a tangy, rich mixture of egg and mayonnaise, and rolled in a crunchy blend of saltines and bread crumbs. With cutlets so thin, we were able to fry our skinnies to a crisp, deep golden color in under 5 minutes without overcooking. Following Iowa skinny custom, we served our crunchy cutlets on a soft bun with shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato slices, and mayonnaise."
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
Salt and pepper
3 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
16 square or 18 round saltines
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise, plus extra for serving
1 cup vegetable oil
4 hamburger buns
1/4 head iceberg lettuce (2 1/4 ounces), shredded
1 tomato, cored and sliced
ADJUST oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200°F. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Cut tenderloin in half. Cut each half in half again, cutting tapered tail piece slightly thicker than middle medallions. Cover pork pieces, cut side up, with plastic wrap and pound to 1/4-inch thickness with meat pounder. Pat cutlets dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
PULSE bread and saltines in food processor to fine crumbs, about 12 pulses; transfer to shallow dish. Spread flour in second shallow dish. Whisk eggs and mayonnaise together in third shallow dish.
WORKING with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge cutlets in flour, dip in egg mixture, then coat with crumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer cutlets to prepared wire rack and let dry for 5 minutes or refrigerate for up to 1 hour.
HEAT 1/2 cup oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Working with 2 cutlets at a time, fry cutlets until deep golden brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towel–lined plate and keep warm in oven. Discard oil, wipe out skillet, and repeat with remaining ½ cup oil and remaining 2 cutlets. Serve on hamburger buns with lettuce, tomato and extra mayonnaise.