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Friday, April 13, 2007

Oink Oink

Mavis had a birthday this week, and requested something piggish for dinner. I told him to check in the basement freezer, and from the available options, he chose a pork loin roast (other alternatives were a Boston butt, chorizo and andouille sausages). I then gave him the option of herb-crusted or maple-glazed, and he opted for the herbs, with a side of polenta and peas.

No pictures, sorry--the camera batteries were dead and I was disinclined at that moment to fetch more. Besides, it tasted better than it looked.

I used a recipe from the March-April 2007 Cook's, deviating slightly, which in retrospect I wouldn't recommend. Well, I also deviated in not brining the meat, which I don't regret in the slightest. I get my pork from a guy who raises heirloom pigs, and this roast was heavily marbled and not in the least lacking in moisture or flavor. Where I shouldn't have deviated was in trying to take a shortcut in making the crumb mixture for the top of the roast, which shortcut resulted in a kind of bread paste instead of a crumb coating. Tant pis.

Anyway, you make a crumb coating with about 1/2 C bread crumbs, a minced shallot, a couple tablespoons of grated parmesan, salt and pepper and about a tablespoon of olive oil. You also make an herb paste with a couple cloves of garlic, about half a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, one sprig's-worth minced rosemary, about ten sprig's-worth minced thyme, 6 T grated parmesan, 3 T olive oil and salt and pepper. You butterfly the roast (I used a boneless blade-end loin roast, as specified in the recipe, though the proportions on mine were different than the one pictured in the article), and spread about 3/4 of the herb paste inside. Tie it with a few pieces of string, then brown all over in hot oil. Then the recipe says to remove the strings (which I don't think I would do again--it kind of flopped apart in the oven as it cooked), spread the rest of the herbs on top and cover with the bread crumb mixture, then roast at 325 until the thickest part measures 145.

It was delicious, and a side bonus was that I figured out and got to use the meat probe that came with my stove. Very nice not to have to keep opening the oven to take the meat's temperature with an instant-read, when instead you can just check it on the oven's display.

For the polenta, I use this stuff from Bob's Red Mill, a local miller whose products are widely available. The package has instructions for both a slow, traditional cooking method, and a quick, easy one. Guess which one I always use? Then just stir in a bunch of grated parmesan, some unsalted butter, and frozen petite peas after taking off the heat, and voilà.

On a completely unrelated note, I had a great sandwich for lunch today, a salmon egg salad made from a couple ounces of leftover roast spring chinook, an Easter egg, chopped capers and dill, mayo and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Mmmmmm.

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Blogger Swizzies said...

Oh dude...you SO HAD ME up until you mixed egg salad (divine) with fish (oy). ;-) But you do get bonus JA points for using salmon!!

Happy b-day, Mavis! Sounds like you had a kick-ass dinner!!!

April 14, 2007 at 12:39 PM  

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