As my first article here at the Examiner, I would like to share a little about my personal life and incorporate it into my professional one. My wife of almost two years is pregnant with our first and second child (twins for those of you keeping score at home). Every week she tells me how big the babies are in relation to a food item: blueberries, then to grapes, then to olives, etc. Every week I will keep the world updated as to the “food” size of the babies and include a recipe highlighting that food.
She is around 11 weeks along and currently our babies are the size of plums. Most people think plums they think tarts, pies, cakes, jams, even prunes (dried plums). However, plums, having that sweet and sour element to them, can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. For example, the sweetness to them plum will give an excellent balance to almost any type of salty or even “gamey” meat (venison, lamb). For this week’s recipe, we turn to my favorite culinary specimen: pork.
Pork, being somewhat mild, is a very versatile meat. Hence, the reason curing and smoking is used to make bacon or ham. The meat takes on so many flavors because it can, whereas other types of meats, such as beef or venison, have a stronger flavor to them and therefore do not need those flavor “enhancements.”
The pork loin comes from the back of the pig, near the ribs and spine. It contains the tenderloin, which is a smaller muscle, closest to the spine and therefore containing less fat.
By incorporating the two, plums and pork loin, we are going to create a wonderful amount of balance and flavor that with the perfect Italian twist, will leave your taste buds happy as a pig in slop.
Until next week, have fun cooking – and if you don’t like cooking, have fun eating!!!
ROASTED PORK LOIN WITH PLUM AND PORT WINE REDUCTION
2 Tb. finely chopped rosemary – fresh
2 Tb. Minced garlic
1 Tb. Ground fennel seed
2 Tb. Kosher salt
2 Tb. Black pepper
½ C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 lb. (avg) Pork loin – trimmed (fat removed)
4-5 plums – quartered, pits removed
2 cups Port Wine
4 Tb. Unsalted Butter
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly mix together rosemary, garlic, fennel, half of the salt and half of the pepper. Gradually whisk in half the EVOO.
- Generously rub the pork loin with the EVOO mixture making sure to cover the entire loin. Set aside and let it marinate and come to room temperature – about an hour (this step can be done well ahead of time and placed back in the refrigerator, just be sure to give yourself enough time to allow pork to get back up to around room temperature before cooking)
- Using a large skillet or sauté pan (preferably oven safe), turn heat to medium high. Add remaining EVOO. When the oil gets hot, CAREFULLY place loin in pan. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown and crusty, then flip and place in oven.
- Cook loin for about 45 min to and hour or until internal temperature at the thickest point reaches 145.
- Once the loin is finished remove from oven, and place on a pan or serving dish to rest
- Put the skillet on the stovetop and turn heat to medium. BE CAREFUL, OIL MAY SPLATTER
- Using the remaining oils and juices in the pan, sauté plums until carmelization begins. Light browning – NOT BURNING! Continue scraping the bits off the bottom as the juices from plums begin to flow from the fruit.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the wine. Be sure to remove the pan from the heat or your pan will catch on fire. After the wine has been added, continue scraping the bits off the pan as they should almost all have come loose due to the deglazing process.
- When the wine begins to boil, turn heat down to low and reduce wine by half. Stir in butter to thicken your sauce. Taste sauce and use remaining salt and pepper to season to your liking.
- By now, your pork has rested long enough for the juices to congeal back inside of the meat. Carve, pour sauce over the top of the roasted pork loin, and serve.