Bone-In Pork Loin with Mediterranean Flavors
Be sure to plan ahead when you want to make this recipe, which is inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean, as the garlicky fennel-and-lavender spice paste needs to soak into the meat for 24 to 48 hours prior to roasting. A second flavoring paste made from capers and lemon zest helps brighten the flavors.
- 1 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. dried lavender
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 rack of pork, about 6 1/2 lb. (3.25 kg) and 6 ribs
- 2 Tbs. capers, rinsed
- Grated zest of 2 lemons
In a mini food processor, combine the fennel seeds, thyme and lavender. Pulse to blend and break up the seeds. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 2 tsp. salt, 1⁄4 tsp. pepper, the garlic and 1 Tbs. of the olive oil to form a paste. Rub the paste all over the pork, concentrating the paste on the thicker, meaty side of the rack. Transfer to a baking dish, cover loosely and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or preferably 48 hours.
Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat an oven to 250°F (120°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In the food processor, combine the capers, lemon zest and the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Pulse until finely ground, scraping down the bowl once or twice.
Place the rack, bone side down, on the baking sheet. Rub the caper-lemon mixture over the top of the rack. Transfer to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork registers 135°F (57°C), 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Raise the oven temperature to 425°F (220°C) and continue to roast until the internal temperature reaches 140°F (60°C), about 20 minutes more. Transfer the rack to a carving board and tent with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut between the bones to separate the loin into chops and serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Year-Round Roasting (Weldon Owen, 2011)