You need to master one meal. For your dating prospects, your friends, and yourself. It should be broadly appealing and allow for early prep so you can throw it in the oven and hang out with your guests. Our pick: pork loin stuffed with fennel and prosciutto.
What you’ll need to begin:
3 slices whole-wheat bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 medium fennel bulb, stalks removed, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 packet prosciutto (4-ounce)
1 4-pound boneless pork loin (or two smaller ones)
1/2 medium Granny Smith apple, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 stick butter
Finely chopped rosemary leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Put the bread into a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Remove to a bowl.
Put the fennel, apple, and onion into the food processor and pulse into a paste. Then melt the butter in a pan and fry the fennel mixture until soft, about 15 minutes. Season with 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir into breadcrumbs.
Butterfly the pork loin. Cut into it lengthwise, almost slicing it in half but leaving a thickness of a 1/2-inch of meat. Then press it open, like a book, and slice leftward from the seam, maintaining a 1/2-inch thickness. Continue until flattened and repeat on the other side.
Smear the fennel mixture on the meat, leaving a 1.5-inch border.
Layer the prosciutto horizontally, then roll into a tight cylinder and tie with several lengths of kitchen twine.
Rub the pork in olive oil and sprinkle with a mixture of 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds (crushed with the bottom of a frying pan), 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar.
Place in a rimmed, foil-lined baking sheet. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Set pork on a middle rack and roast until light golden brown on top, about 30 minutes. Lower heat to 375 degrees, rotate baking sheet, and cook for another 30 minutes until a thermometer inserted into the center of the pork reads 145 degrees.
Wait 20 minutes before slicing. Enjoy with a rustic loaf of bread and a dry Riesling.
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