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Arista (Roasted Pork Loin)

Arista (Roasted Pork Loin)
A favorite on menus throughout Tuscany is arista alla Fiorentina—a prime cut of pork that is rubbed or stuffed with an aromatic blend of Mediterranean herbs and roasted to savory perfection. This classic dish derives its name from the Greek word aristos, meaning "the best." According to culinary lore, arista was first served in 15th-century Florence at a summit of Roman Catholic and Greek churches. The succulent pork roast so delighted the Greek clergymen that they began to chant, "Aristos, aristos, aristos."

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 bone-in pork loin roast, about 5 lb.
  • 12 oz. dried figs, halved
  • 1 cup sweet vermouth or water, warmed
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 Tbs. veal demi-glace
  • 2 tsp. fig balsamic vinegar
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room
      temperature

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the thyme, rosemary, garlic, the 1 1/2 Tbs. salt, pepper and olive oil. Rub the herb mixture on all sides of the pork loin. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Put the figs in a bowl, add the vermouth and soak for 1 hour. Strain the figs, reserving the soaking liquid.

Preheat an oven to 475°F.

Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400°F and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, away from the bone, registers 140°F, 45 to 50 minutes more. Transfer the pork to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes.

Set the roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add the reserved soaking liquid and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Reduce the heat to medium and add the figs, stock, demi-glace and fig balsamic vinegar. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter 1 Tbs. at a time, and season with salt and pepper.

Carve the pork roast between the bones and arrange on a warmed platter. Pour the sauce over the meat and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.