You’ll definitely want to put this on the menu soon. The Mediterranean-inspired dish is delicious, versatile, and the bold flavors of fennel and garlic pair perfectly with a fine Oregon Pinot. Plan ahead, though, as it needs to brine overnight and then absorb the flavors of the rub for a couple of hours after brining.
¼ cup honey
2 tbsp black peppercorns
15 or so fresh bay leaves, or 5 dried
10 sprigs of fresh thyme
10 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
2 heads garlic, halved horizontally
1 cup kosher salt
3 quarts cold water
4 lb. boneless pork loin
2 tbsp chopped fennel seeds
1 tsp crushed red pepper
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp lemon zest
Pinch of salt
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp canola oil
- Make the brine by combining the honey, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, garlic and salt with 1 quart of water in a small saucepan. Stir to dissolve the salt, and then bring the mixture to a boil. Pour into a bowl and let cool. Add the remaining 2 quarts of water, add the pork loin, and refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours.
- Pull out your food processor or go old school with a mortar and pestle. Combine fennel seeds, red pepper, garlic, lemon zest and salt. Form a paste. Add the olive oil, stirring to combine. Rub half of the paste onto the lean side of the pork and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil. When hot, add the pork, fat side down, searing for about 5 minutes or until browned. Transfer the pork to a baking pan with a rack, placing it fat side up. Slather on the remaining rub and roast for about 1 hour, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 140 to 145 degrees.
Serve this tender and flavorful pork roast with some roasted or mashed potatoes, fresh green salad and crusty rolls. For a wine pairing, the earthy and complex flavor profile of a Rainstorm Pinot Noir is a perfect accompaniment.