3 cups (about 1 big bunch/180g) packed fresh parsley, large stems removed
½ cup (70g) pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons (110ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 orange
2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (3-pound/1.3kg) boneless pork loin roast
1½ pounds (675g) fingerling potatoes
5 fresh rosemary sprigs, plus more for garnish
Before you say, “OMG, I could never make something this beautiful,” let me reassure you that yes you can. These gorgeous spirals of herb-stuffed pork are a cinch to pull off when you follow a few easy steps. It all starts with flattening the pork loin, which, I might add, is a great way to pound out your frustrations! If that seems like too much for you, ask your butcher to flatten the roast for you. Then all you have to do is season it, slather on the pesto, then rock and roll your way to an easy and elegant supper.
SERVES 6 TO 8
In the bowl of a food processor, add the parsley, pine nuts, garlic, and
¼ teaspoon of the salt. Pulse until chopped, about 10 times. With the processor running, add ⅓ cup of the oil in a steady stream, pulsing until combined. (The texture will be slightly chunky.) Taste and add additional salt if needed. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together 2 teaspoons of the salt, the orange zest, fennel seed, 1 teaspoon of the black pepper, oregano, and red pepper. Set aside.
Place the pork on a cutting board. If it has a fat cap (a thicker layer of fat on one long side), use a sharp knife to score a diamond-shaped pattern
in the fat. Flip the pork over so the fat cap is on the cutting board. With a very sharp knife, cut down the center of the pork, lengthwise, stop- ping about ½ inch from the bottom so as to not cut all the way through the loin. You should be able to open the pork like a book. Make the same lengthwise center cut on the left half of the pork. Repeat on the right half.
Open the pork so it lays mostly flat and cover it with plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the pork into an even ½-inch thickness. Remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture over the flattened pork. Set the remaining spice mixture aside.
Spread the pesto mixture over the pork. Starting with one long end, tightly roll up the pork as you would a jelly roll. Using butcher’s twine, tightly tie the pork in 2-inch intervals. Sprinkle all sides with the remaining spice mixture.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
On a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Push the potatoes to the edges to make a space for the pork in the center and nestle the rosemary sprigs among the potatoes.
In a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the tied pork, fat cap side down, and cook until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and brown the remaining sides, about 2 minutes each. Transfer the pork to the roasting pan.
Roast until the potatoes are tender and the pork is cooked through, 40 to 50 minutes. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes, remove the twine, and slice as desired. Transfer the pork to a serving platter and surround it with the potatoes. Garnish with additional rosemary sprigs.
Recipe from Preppy Kitchen’s John Kanell’s New Cookbook