Roasted Rack of Pork with Rosemary and Sage
From Noci Sonoma, a modern farmstead near Healdsburg, California, this rack of pork will make a grand impression when you’re entertaining. It takes on deep flavor from a rub that combines fresh herbs and spices with orange zest and a little brown sugar. An overnight rest in the refrigerator is best, but the meat will still taste amazing even if it sits for just a few hours. To gild the lily, serve these hefty chops with a drizzle of spicy raisin sauce.
- 2 bone-in racks of pork, about 7 lb. (3.5 kg) total
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
- 2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tbs. coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp. toasted fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- Grated zest of 2 oranges
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
For the spicy golden raisin drizzle:
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) water
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) unrefined cane sugar
- 1/2 cup (3 oz./90 g) golden raisins
- 3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds, toasted
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1-inch (2.5-cm) fresh rosemary sprig
Using a sharp knife, score the skin and fat all over the pork, taking care not to cut into the meat.
In a mortar and pestle, combine the garlic, rosemary, sage, brown sugar, salt, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, orange zest and a few grindings of black pepper. Pour in the olive oil and mash until a paste forms. (Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a mini food processor and process until a paste forms.) Place the pork on a baking sheet and rub the paste all over the pork. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.
Let the pork stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the pork on the parchment-lined baking sheet bone side down. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork, away from the bone, registers 140°F (60°C), 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the drizzle: In a saucepan over high heat, combine the water, cane sugar, raisins, vinegar, mustard seeds, thyme, salt, red pepper flakes and rosemary and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprig and let cool to room temperature. The drizzle can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature or warm in a small saucepan over medium heat before serving.
Transfer the pork to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut between the bones into chops, transfer to a platter and serve immediately. Pass the drizzle at the table. Serves 12.
Recipe courtesy of Aria Alpert Adjani, culinary director and co-founder of Noci Sonoma