Recipe: Roast Pork with Herb Crust
Don’t overlook pork loin roasts — they’re a cinch to prepare, slice into uniform pieces for easy serving and, pound for pound, may be easier on your wallet. I modified this recipe found in “Best Ever Recipes” from the editors of Cook's Illustrated. I changed the Cook's Illustrated recipe by using panko (Japanese bread flakes) instead of white bread crumbs, omitting the shallot and increasing the garlic.
Optional Brine Time: 1 hour
Active Time: 1 hour
Roast Time: 45-70 minutes
- 1 (2 1/2-3 pounds) boneless center-cut pork loin roast*
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons panko
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
- 4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup packed fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
*Pork roast is often sold with two pieces tied together. Pork pieces should measure about 3-5 inches.
1. Remove twine from pork. Lightly score the fat cap on the pork, making a 1/4-inch cross-hatch pattern, then cut a pocket in the side of the roast, stopping 1/2-inch short of each end. If brining, in a large container, dissolve 1/2 cup kosher salt and the sugar in one cup of hot water. Stir in an additional 7 cups very cold water. (Brine should be cold before submerging pork; refrigerate if necessary.) Submerge the roast in brine and refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour. Rinse the roast under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
2. Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.
3. Place panko in a medium-sized bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, 1 tablespoon garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil. With a fork, toss the mixture until the crumbs are evenly coated with oil. Season to taste with kosher salt, if needed, and freshly ground pepper.
4. Add basil, thyme, rosemary, remaining garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil to a food processor. Process until smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt, if needed, and freshly ground pepper. Add remaining Parmesan to mixture and transfer to a small bowl (Note: do not combine with breadcrumb mixture).
5. Spread 1/4 cup of herb paste inside the roast and tie the roast at even intervals along its length with three pieces of kitchen twine. Season roast with freshly ground pepper.
6. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Add the roast, fat side down, and brown on all sides, 8-10 minutes, lowering the heat if the fat begins to smoke. Transfer the roast to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.
7. Using scissors, snip and remove the twine from the roast; discard the twine. Spread remaining herb paste over the roast and top with the bread-crumb mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet and cook until the thickest part of the roast registers 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 45-70 minutes; after crust is golden brown, tent with foil.
8. Transfer the roast to a carving board, taking care not to squeeze the juices out of the pocket in the roast. Cut the roast into 1/2-inch slices and serve.
This recipe was adapted by Peggy Lampman and originally posted on AnnArbor.com on Dec. 9, 2010.