A Green Food Mood
It happens to me every spring. I can’t control it, it’s a purely atavistic impulse. At the first glimpse of spring bulbs pushing up through the still-cold ground, I start craving green food. Any green food. And it’s not like I don’t eat my vegetables all winter long, either. But the impending spring sweeps me with fierce green cravings, and I’ve been perhaps exaggerating a little lately on the green food front. Like this cilantro soup, nothing more than a jar of cooked white beans simmered and pureed with chicken broth and a huge bunch of cilantro. Really good, and five minutes after I had the idea it was ready to eat.
Or this salad of nothing more than a tangle of arugula, diced beets, and a dressing of a garlicky mayonnaise into which I blended a huge bouquet of watercress. Now that was good enough to eat for breakfast, not that I actually did, but I have to admit that I thought about it.
Then there’s this wonderful dish, a green herb-stuffed rolled pork roast, which you should make as soon as possible. Adapted from this recipe, it’s delicious hot, served with
a nice heap of roasted vegetables and, of course, the season’s first new broccoli.
And as an added bonus, the leftovers are delicious cold on a sandwich with more of that garlic mayonnaise and a twist of piquillo pepper. To tell the truth, the leftovers are also great cold, straight off the cutting board, nevermind the sandwich.
Here, see for yourself.
Herb-Stuffed Rolled Pork Loin
1 pork loin roast
1 bunch Italian parsley
1 bunch cilantro, about the same amount as the parsley
2 large handfuls of arugula leaves, if you have small hands, 3 handfuls
3 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
salt and pepper
Spiral cut your roast, so that it lies in an open and flat rectangle about 1/2″ thick. Season the roast with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 210°C/400°F.
In the food processor, whirl the parsley, cilantro, arugula, olive oil, and garlic to a coarse paste. Spread this paste all over the surface of the meat, then roll the roast up and tie it in several places with kitchen twine.
Cut the butter into small bits and place it in a roasting pan. Place the roast on top of the butter, fat side up, salt and pepper the top of the roast, and add a little splash of water to the pan to keep the first juices from burning.
Place the roast in the oven for 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C/350°F, baste the roast, and continue cooking until the center of the roast reaches 60°C/140°F, basting occasionally. Remove the roast from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, go out and buy one. You’ll be glad you did. The timing of this roast really depends on how thick your roll is. The original recipe calls for 1 hour at the higher temperature, but my roast was done after only 35 minutes. And you definitely don’t want to overcook it, so trust me, using a thermometer is the only way to go.