Sometimes it's nice to find an Italian influenced recipe that is not drenched in marinara or served with a heart stopping side of pasta.
Adapted from "The Short Order Cook" in Men's Health magazine, January/February 2011
3 cloves of garlic, minced
grated zest of 2 oranges
1 Tbsp fennel seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 pork loin, about 2 lbs
2 cans (14 oz) cannellini beans, drained
juice of one lemon
Preheat the oven to 450
On a cutting board, combine the garlic, orange zest, fennel seeds, and 1 Tbsp of the rosemary. Chop the mix until a thick paste is formed. Scoop into a small bowl and add the olive oil. Stir to combine.Season the pork with salt and pepper and rub all over with the paste. (if you like you can allow the meat to marinate up to 4 hours prior to cooking.) Place the pork in a roasting pan and bake for 25 to 30 or until a thermometer inserted in middle reads 160. Remove the roast from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
In a saucepan, heat the beans, lemon juice and remaining rosemary until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice the pork and serve with the beans.
Very few...I needed to roast to pork closer to 40 minutes before it reached the appropriate internal temporature. And I halved the bean portion of the recipe.
The pork was incredibly tender and juicy. The flavor was rich, though a bit subtle. If I try the recipe again I am planning on marinating the pork in the fennel/orange paste prior to roasting. And the beans, while flavorful, were a bit to acidic for our taste. A slight touch of honey or sugar substitute may be in order next time, to hold back the full citric assault of the lemon juice.
The recipe also suggesting trying lemon zest and sage in lieu of orange zest and rosemary for the paste. I'm storing that one in the back of my mind for future roast chickens.
But all in all, it was simple enough to make any night of the week, but fancy enough to impress company.