We had this herb crusted pork loin roast two Sundays ago with the Creamed Spinach from yesterday. It was a good meal. This recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated and although it isn’t extremely difficult, it does require a little time. This is definitely a Sunday pork roast.
I was happy to see that my Harris Teeter had some Niman Ranch pork available. I am not an expert in agriculture or organics, but I do like knowing that their pork is humanely raised and that they use sustainable farming practices. What I can also tell you is that their pork is wonderful and definitely worth the extra money. You brine the pork in this recipe which gives it a lot of its flavor and makes it incredibly tender, but still, you could tell this pork was of a really good quality. I haven’t looked lately, but I imagine that they have Niman Ranch products at Whole Foods. If not, their pork is most likely the same quality as they tend to have similar standards for their meats.
So besides brining (which was extremely simple – don’t be scared,) you will make a fresh breadcrumb crust for this pork. You can see it in the picture and although it fell off a little bit when we sliced it up, this tasted wonderful with the juicy pork. You will also make an herb mixture to rub in the center of the pork and this gives the dish sooo much fresh flavor. It really was wonderful. I was a little bit worried that this might ooze out of the pork, but it really stayed in very nicely and there was plenty to give it a good slathering.
This also made for great leftovers. I don’t always love pork as leftovers, but this was an exception. The crust actually stayed relatively crunchy and the herb mixture just got more flavorful. If you are looking for a new way to roast your pork, I definitely urge you to try this out. I would make it again in a heartbeat – especially if we were entertaining and I wanted to make something special to impress.
Herb Crusted Pork Roast
- 3 pound boneless center-cut pork loin roast
- Kosher Salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs I used a mixture of whole wheat and white bread
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 medium shallot minced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup packed fresh parsley or basil leaves minced (I used a little bit of each)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- Lightly score fat cap on pork, making 1/4-inch crosshatch pattern. Cut pocket in roast about 3/4 inch from the edge. Dissolve 1/2 cup salt and 1/4 cup sugar in 2 quarts water in large container; submerge roast, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Rinse roast really well under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
- Meanwhile, put rack in the lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Place bread crumbs in a medium bowl and add 2 tablespoons Parmesan, shallot, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Using fork, toss mixture until crumbs are evenly coated with oil.
- Add parsley, thyme, rosemary, garlic, remaining 6 tablespoons Parmesan, 3 tablespoons oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to food processor workbowl and process until smooth, about twelve 1-second pulses. Transfer herb paste to small bowl.
- Spread 1/4 cup herb paste inside roast and tie. Season roast with pepper.
- Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add roast, fat side down, and brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes, lowering heat if fat begins to smoke. Transfer roast to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
- Snip and remove twine from roast and then spread remaining herb paste over roast and top with bread crumb mixture. Transfer baking sheet with roast to oven and cook until thickest part of roast registers 145 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 50 to 75 minutes. Remove roast from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Internal temperature should rise to 150 degrees.
- Transfer roast to carving board carefully. Cut roast into 1/2-inch slices and serve immediately.