© David Loftus
pork loin with a great herby stuffing
This recipe for pork is great. You can serve it as a conventional roast, or let it cool and either serve it as part of a buffet, or in sandwiches as they do in Italy. On my first trip there we stopped at a stand by the side of the road where we had lovely big porchetta (pork sandwiches) filled with salad leaves, mustard and some very bready salsa verde.
If youre feeling adventurous then try out this recipe using a whole suckling pig. Its one of the most special things you can cook great for weddings and parties. Good butchers will normally be able to get hold of a suckling pig if you order in advance you should expect to pay $100 or more for a whole one, which will feed about 12 people. If you do decide to use a suckling pig, then double the stuffing recipe, stuff the cavity, secure it and allow it a couple of extra hours to cook. It will be ready when the leg and shoulder meat falls off the bone.
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Place your pork loin in front of you and score across the skin with a sharp knife about 1/2 inch deep and about 1/2 incha part.Using a mortar and pestle, pound up the rosemary and fennel seeds with a tablespoon of salt bash the mixture up until really fine and then rub it into all the score marks on the pork. Remove the crusts from the bread and slice it up. I like to toast the bread in a toaster or on a griddle until lightly gold- en, as this gives the stuffing a really fantastic smoky flavor. While the bread is toasting, slowly fry the onions, garlic, sage and pinenuts in a lit- tle olive oil for 10 minutes, until the onions are sweet and soft. Season with salt and pepper, add the balsamic vinegar and put the mixture in a bowl. Rip your bread into pieces and add to the bowl. Squash everything together, really squeezing the onions into the bread. Have a taste it may need a little more seasoning. Put to one side and allow to cool.
Insert your knife into the eye meat of the pork loin and make a cavity for your stuffing (see the pictures opposite). Pack in the stuffing, then roll the pork over and tie it with a few pieces of string. Place the pork on a roasting pan and cook in the preheated oven for just over an hour, until crisp and golden.
1/2 a pork loin, preferably the rib end, off the bone
1 small handful of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
3 heaping tablespoons fennel seeds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1lb 2oz sourdough or rustic bread
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 small handful fresh sage leaves, ripped up
1 handful of pinenuts extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar