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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pesto Rolled Pork Loin

It's Mother Hubbard's cupboard around here. Who would've thought that I might start finding it challenging to get to the grocery store? Of course, there's the grocery store and then there's the grocery store. Strangely enough, where we're living now is almost like living out in the sticks from a shopping point of view. There are local stores to shop at, but the prices are so high, I can only justify emergency shopping there. I'm all for supporting local merchants, but a 40% mark-up? Come on! So, to do some real shopping involves driving "across the water" and paying the toll to get to Destin. It takes about twenty minutes to get over there, so I guess I've been putting it off... and putting it off.

It got so bad that yesterday I had to cave and do an emergency run at the local store to make it through the rest of the week. I had to get food that can be taken for lunches at work and things that can be eaten on the go for breakfast. While there I had to see if anything was on special in the meat department (I needed something to make for dinner, too). They had beautiful pork tenderloins on sale! They're the perfect weekday meal canvas because they cook quickly and are tender and flavorful. My favorite way to prepare one is rolled up with pesto. Two ingredients! You can't beat that.

The first ingredient is pesto. You could use store bought, make you own fresh, or get out some of the cubes of pesto you froze last time you had a bunch of basil around. For this recipe, you need about 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of pesto. I simply throw some of the frozen cubes in a bowl and nuke in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

The trickiest part of this whole thing is butterflying the loin. While there are a few ways to accomplish this task, I'll show you the way I do it.
With the loin sitting on the board, divide it in your mind into thirds: top middle, and bottom. Cut into to the loin at the line between the middle and top thirds and cut about three quarters of the way through the loin. Flip that top third back out of the way. By the way, can you see all that marbling!?! I have never seen such a fatty tenderloin in my life! It was delicious!

Now, from where you just stopped cutting, cut through the loin toward you at the line between the middle and bottom. Again, cut only about three quarters of the way across. It's like cutting a tri-fold brochure out of pork. Now just lay the thing open and slather pesto all over it.

Roll the pesto up so that you have a nice, long roll. Use kitchen twine to snug it up tightly. Place on a foil lined pan and roast at 400 degrees F until the internal temperature of the thickest part has reached almost 150. It took my loin about 30 minutes to get there.

In the last two minutes, I switched the oven over to the broiler so that I could get a little more color and flavor on the outside. Remove from the oven and be sure to let it rest for a few minutes before removing the twine and cutting into three-quarter inch thick slices. So divine! I served mine with saffron rice and steamed broccoli. 'Course, now I don't know what to make for dinner tonight...

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