While thumbing through the May issue of Bon Appetit dubbed “The Italy Issue”, I was inspired by a pasta recipe pairing prosciutto with orange. I decided to take this combination and turn it into a luscious pork roast. As is, the presentation is rustic as the prosciutto will shrink and curl and the orange zest is quite prevalent. As a family supper, it’s fine this way, but of course care could be taken to make this more refined by starting with a finely grated zest. You could also use more prosciutto to really encase the pork, but I liked the balance as is. I would also tie the roast after wrapping it if making for company. But really, the point here was that this experimental dish was excellent. On a side note, with some added seasoning, the leftovers actually tasted great recreated into burrito bowls the next day. Start with the mentioned quick brine to ensure success.
Quick & Easy Brined Pork Loin (Will work for 1.5 – 2 lb. loin)
- Pork Loin Roast
- 1/3 cup Kosher Salt
- 2 cups warm water
- handful of ice cubes
- 4 cups cold water
Microwave salt and 2 cups of water for 2 minutes. Stir water until salt is dissolved and pour into container large enough to fit pork loin. Stir in ice cubes and cold water until cubes have melted. Place pork into container and refrigerate for one hour. (At this salt to water ratio, I would not let this go for much more than an hour.) Time this so you can remove this from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook the meat. Rinse the meat and dry it well.
Prosciutto and Orange Roast Pork Loin
- Quick Brined Pork Loin (1.5 to 2 lb.)
- 1 lg. naval orange
- 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 lg. garlic clove
- l large (or 2 small) sprigs of fresh Rosemary blanched in boiling water for 15 seconds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 pound prosciutto (sliced thin, but not so thin that the pieces fall apart)
- 2 tablespoon vodka
- 1 teaspoon of butter
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut rind off orange and coarsely chop. Juice the orange and reserve the juice.
In a small food processor, add peppercorns and process until mostly ground. Add garlic clove and process until clove is well chopped. Add in orange zest, rosemary leaves, olive oil, and honey. Process for several minutes scraping sides as needed. Rub paste over pork loin until coated. (You may not need to use 100% of the mixture depending on the weight of meat.)
Layout pieces of prosciutto onto cutting board and trim as needed. Place loin onto prosciutto and wrap tightly.
Coat a cast iron skillet with a thin layer of olive oil and place on high heat. Cook the loin presentation side down for 2 minutes. Flip meat carefully and cook for another minute. Transfer meat to oven and roast until meat registers 145-150 degrees (20-30 minutes). Remove from pan and cover with foil. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. Note: If you’re of the persuasion that pork needs to be well done, you’ll need to let this cook to a higher temperature.
While the meat is resting, deglaze skillet with reserved orange juice and vodka. Cook over low heat until the sauce starts to thicken (about 5 minutes). Just before serving, pour any juice that has accumulated on the plate where the pork is resting into the pan and stir in the butter. For a richer pan sauce, add more butter of course. Spoon over meat and enjoy.