Saturday, 26 February 2011

Roasted Pork Loin with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette and Braised Greens with Smoky Bacon

Here piggy, piggy, piggy!

What goes best with pork? More pork, of course!

This pork loin is made super flavourful with the addition of a roasted garlic vinaigrette featuring mouthwatering balsamic vinegar, but it is also complemented beautifully by the smoky bacon in the greens.

Hey, you have to eat your veggies - and if they have bacony goodness in them? All the better!

And since we should probably have at least as many veggies as we do pork products, I lightly seasoned some thickly sliced fennel and threw it right in with the loin to roast along and absorb all those beautiful juices. Have you ever had roasted fennel? This is your opportunity. It turns into candy, I swear. You will be stealing it off your mate's plate as soon as they aren't looking. And Honey, if you are reading this, of course I would never do that to you. ☺  
Ahem. Let's get to the recipes, shall we?

Roasted Pork Loin with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
*Note - Giada uses a loin roast here, I had the long tenderloins, so I seasoned, seared, and roasted them all in the same awesome cast iron frying pan until done to my liking. Cast iron frying pans are a cook's best friends (that and the wine, and the stand mixer...) Make sure you have at least an 8-inch and a 12-inch in your kitchen ensemble. 

Roasted Garlic:

Ingredients

    * 2 heads garlic
    * 2 tablespoons olive oil
    * Salt

Pork Loin:

    * 1 (3 1/2 to 4 1/2-pound) boneless pork loin
    * Salt
    * Freshly ground black pepper

Vinaigrette:

Roasted garlic, recipe follows

    * 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
    * 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    * 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    * 1 teaspoon sugar
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    * 2 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

For the Roasted Garlic:

Cut the bulbs of garlic in half crosswise into a top and bottom. Place the garlic halves on a sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Fold the foil up and around the garlic halves, making sure they stay flat. Seal the foil into an airtight package. Roast until golden and soft, about 60 minutes. Keep the garlic in the foil and let cool slightly.

For the Pork:

Place the pork loin in a medium, heavy roasting pan. Season all sides with salt and pepper. Place the pork in the oven 30 minutes after the garlic has started roasting. Roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 140 to 145 degrees F, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven, tent the pork loin with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes.

For the vinaigrette:

Remove the garlic from the foil. Remove the cloves by squeezing the base of the garlic. Place the garlic, parsley, and balsamic vinegar in a blender. Pulse the machine until blended. Drizzle the oil into the blender while the machine is running. Add the sugar, salt, pepper, and water and blend until incorporated.

To serve:

Slice the pork into 3/4-inch thick slices and transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the pork and pass the remaining vinaigrette alongside the pork in a small dish.

Braised Greens with Smoky Bacon
Recipe adapted from Michael Symon

Ingredients

    * 8 ounces slab bacon, cut into lardons
    * 3 tablespoons duck fat or lard
    * 2 cloves garlic, sliced
    * 2 shallots, sliced
    * 2 fresno chiles, seeded and sliced
    * 1 pound hardy greens, such as Swiss chard, collards, rapini, or beet greens, stems trimmed
    * 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
    * Salt and freshly ground pepper
    * 2 tbsp honey

Directions

Heat a 6-quart casserole over medium heat. Add the bacon and duck fat and cook for five minutes to render the fat from the bacon. Add the garlic, shallot, and chiles and cook until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the greens, reduce the heat to low, add the vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Cook the greens down until they're tender, about ½ hour. Drizzle with the honey and mix well.

Plated for a dinner for two
IHCC