Pork Loin with Pesto Crust
This was served for Sunday Night Valentines Day Dinner; my daughter's favorite pork dish. Original recipe uses beef tenderloin, which is superb with pesto crust, but since one cannot feed 300 people such expensive meat, I changed it to pork loin and it works great!
Trim most of the fat and silver skin off the loin. Rub salt, sugar, and pepper mixture well. Bring meat to room temperature before roasting.
After roasting 20 minutes in high heat, rub pesto on.
Then, cheese and bread crumb mixture.
Back into oven until internal temperature reaches about 135-140 degrees. Tent meat with foil and let rest for at least 20-30 minutes before slicing.
Serves 12 to 16
1 whole pork loin(5 to 6 pounds), trimmed and patted dry
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
2 slices white sandwich bread , torn into pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves , plus 2 tablespoons
1 1/4 cups Grated Parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1. Tuck tail of loin under and tie roast. Combine 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon pepper, and sugar in small bowl and rub all over pork loin. Transfer loin to wire rack set on rimmed baking sheet and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, pulse bread in food processor to fine crumbs. Transfer bread crumbs to medium bowl and toss in 2 tablespoons parsley, 2 teaspoons thyme, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and 2 tablespoons oil until evenly combined. Wipe out food processor and process remaining 6 tablespoons parsley, 2 tablespoons thyme, 3/4 cup cheese, 4 tablespoons oil, and garlic until smooth paste forms. Transfer herb paste to small bowl.
3. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Roast loin 20 minutes and remove from oven. Coat loin with herb paste followed by bread-crumb topping (see photos). Roast until thickest part of meat registers about 135-140 degrees and topping is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. (If topping browns before meat reaches preferred internal temperature, lightly cover with foil for balance of roasting time and remove while roast rests.) Let roast rest, for 30 minutes on wire rack. Transfer to cutting board and carve. Serve.
Note: Everything can be prepped up to two days in advance, proceed with step 3