Sunday, March 14, 2010

Minimalism. Almost.

Some of the best recipes out there have only a few ingredients. Use them at the peak of freshness, and you're a hero to those you're cooking for.

If you grow your own vegetables, or you have time to get to a Farmer's Market every day.

Most of us need to make do with what's at the grocer, and I have to say selection is better and fresher than it was even five years ago. I like to buy organic; I think it tastes better and the vegetables keep a little better. This article about organic food is worth a read, even if you don't think organic is worth the money.

I came across this week's recipe when I was in a "back to basics" frame of mind. This roast pork loin with rosemary and garlic is from Epicurious, and was very easy to make

4 large garlic cloves, pressed
4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 2 1/2-pound boneless pork loin roast, well trimmed
Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)

One look at this list and I knew a few things: 1) Rosemary and pork are delicious together 2) I was going to need more herbs than what was called for 3)this recipe could use a little freshening.

And big booboo on Bon Appetit. The ratio of dried herbs to fresh herbs is three to one, not two. Maybe I just like bolder flavors.

Actually, when I put all the ingredients together, my first thought was, "More. We need more of everything." I didn't want to just have the occasional bit of herbal flavor, I wanted each bite of pork to burst with rosemaryness. I simply didn't have enough herb/garlic mixture to cover the real estate of the pork loin, so I added another tablespoon of fresh rosemary and another garlic clove.

I mentioned freshening above. Maybe it's my desire for spring and summer (we got a fair amount of snow in CT this past winter), but I wanted to brighten this recipe, and my freshener of choice was lemon juice. Just a couple of tablespoons in with the spice mix.

The rest of the recipe:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 13 x 9 x 2-inch roasting pan with foil. Mix first 4 ingredients in bowl. Rub garlic mixture all over pork. Place pork, fat side down, in prepared roasting pan. Roast pork 30 minutes. Turn roast fat side up. Roast until thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 155°F., about 25 minutes longer. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.
Pour any juices from roasting pan into small saucepan; set over low heat to keep warm. Cut pork crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Arrange pork slices on platter. Pour pan juices over. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.

The instructions here were very easy to follow, and I was really pleased when the oven actually did what the instructions said and the pork was the exact temperature after the roasting time. Most ovens aren't calibrated that well.

The result was delectable. I served it with herbed bread dressing and green beans. Few leftovers, and they were gone the next day, so I call this one a raging success.

Next week: by request, I bring you pesto without a food processor.

Questions? Comments? Want me to deconstruct a recipe? Let me know!

Have a great week, everybody!

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