Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fragrant Springtime Roasted Pork Loin

Pork loin is a popular and delicious protein suitable for any time of year.  This particular recipe reminds me of spring with it's crisp and bright flavors, that really bring this loin to life after marination.  The featured recipe is paired with my Better Than Sex Broccoli Casserole and some roasted new potatoes for a wonderful family style meal or Super Sunday Dinner.  The lemon grass paste and sambal oelek add a super Asian quality dynamic, which is further complimented by fresh garlic, lemons, and Marsala.    Lemon grass paste can be found in the produce department of major markets. It is native to India and tropical Asia, where it is used as teas, in curries as well as soups.  Known as Cymbopogon in   it's native countries, lemon grass also goes by other monikers like lemongrass, silky heads, barbed wire grass, hierba Luisa, fever grass and citronella grass.  This member of the grass family is also used as a preservative and insect repellent, as well as a pheromone to attract bees to hives for trapping. Lemon grass also possesses anti-fungal properties and medicinal attributes to some.
This recipe is super the next day as well for amazing sandwiches on toasted slices of French bread drizzled with olive oil, adorned with fresh spinach, horseradish mustard, mayonnaise and Cheddar cheese, that's if there's any left over! My sister Bonnie and her husband thought the sandwiches were fantastic!  For smaller loins, simply half the recipe.
1 2 1/2 lb. boneless pork loin
1/2 c. Marsala
4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
2 lemons
1 tsp. lemongrass paste
1 tsp. sambal oelek
olive oil
Pierce loin generously with a knife or fork for flavor permeation.  Place in large resealable bag and SPST.
In a bowl, whisk together Marsala, juice of lemons, garlic, paste, sambal oelek and about 1 tbsp. of olive oil and pour over loin.  Roll around in bag to coat evenly, press out excess air and marinate in refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350*F.
Pour off marinade and pat loin dry with paper towels.
Heat cast iron skillet or large saute pan to medium high heat and drizzle with olive oil.
Sear loin on all sides until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to oven to finish cooking.
Roast uncovered until internal temperature reaches 165*F.  Remove from oven and let rest for about 15 minutes.  This will allow the roast to continue cooking and reabsorb juices before serving. Drizzle with pan juices before serving if desired!
Makes 10-12 servings.

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