You probably know by now my eternal infatuation with pork. Truth be told, it’s hard to shake it off especially since pork played such a major part into my upbringing. Remember the Romanian Christmas traditions and all those elaborate pork dishes? Yet sometimes, grandma Vicki would just hand me a fat slice of rustic crusty bread, heavily smeared with pork lard (yes, I know, pork lard!) and dusted with salt and paprika. And I would be out the door and off with my playmates with a smile and messy red smudge on my face and the hunk of bread in my hand. I’m not advocating pork fat here by any means, although I would have loved to be a judge in the Iron Chef America: Battle Pork Fat challenge a while back. Anyway, you get the picture!
So, when it comes to pork I like to go all out for big, bold and bright flavors. This Herb-Roasted Pork Loin recipe stems from a recipe, which my grandma always makes for New Year’s or Christmas or whenever we feel like gobbling down a hulky piece of pork; and a Barefoot Contessa recipe for a tacky and garlicky herb paste. I meant to tell you about this fabulous Herb-Roasted Pork Loin, last week, and offer you a solid choice for a celebratory Valentine’s Day dinner. But then pain erupted, followed by an emergency trip to my dentist, and culminating with an imminent root canal. I’ll spare you the grisly details but I can tell you that the rest of the week was pretty foggy after that. Anyhow, I don’t think that you need a special occasion to make this fantastic meal. But if you need one, the Oscars are just around the corner and this pork dish would be wonderful to savor before the awards; followed by a rich and nutty Walnut and Chocolate Cake and a glass of bubbly and fruity Prosecco drink!
Seasoning the meat with salt and pepper (and maybe a pinch of paprika) would usually suffice to make a mouthwatering dish. But then I stumbled upon this resinous and flavor packed rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, mustard and lemon juice mélange, and I was smitten. The pork is thickly swaddled in the mustard-garlic-herb mixture, prettily browned on all sides, then bathed in a shimmering pool of crisp white wine and roasted to perfection; it’s insanely delicious! Slice and serve it with Sweet Green Peas or Creamed Corn and Mashed Potatoes, and spoon the pan juices over the pork slices and potatoes and you’ll be in heaven! This phenomenal herb-roasted pork loin makes for an elegant dinner; and when cold and sliced and sandwiched between two chunks of bread makes for a quick and satiating lunch.
And another thing – although no bird could ever replace the satisfying pork, a hefty piece of skin-on turkey breast, tied up and generously smeared with the viscous paste over and under the skin is ethereally delicious for a small crowd at Thanksgiving; and it roasts substantially faster than the whole bird. Just saying...
Herb-Roasted Pork Loin
Adapted from my grandma Vicki and Barefoot Contessa
Makes: 8-10 servings
· 1 (2 – 2.5 pound) boneless pork loin roast
· 3 garlic cloves, minced
· 2 teaspoons dry mustard
· 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
· 1 Tablespoon fresh sage leaves, chopped
· 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
· 2 teaspoon salt
· 1 teaspoon black pepper
· 4 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
· 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
· 1 cup dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, dry mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste. Smear the paste evenly all over the pork. Reserve 1 Tablespoon of paste. Allow the meat to marinate for about 15 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat 2 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the pork and cook until brown on all sides. Transfer the pork loin to a roasting pan and place it skin side up. Pour the juices and oil from the skillet over the meat. Smear the pork with the reserved 1 Tablespoon of paste. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.
Roast the pork for about 1 hour. Remove the aluminum foil and roast the meat for 15 minutes longer and until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the pork. When the pork is done, cover the pan with foil and allow the pork to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
P.S.: I’ll be back on March 19! Adrian and I are off to Romania to see our families for the next couple of weeks. I won’t be able to post while away but I’ll return with stories and most certainly new recipes from my grandma Vicki! Until then…
Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)