Roast Pork Loin with Fennel Salad

Tory Miller works with the Uplands Cheese Company's co-owners, Mike and Carol Gingrich, to raise pigs that taste of Wisconsin terroir—they're fed local apples, hickory nuts and acorns, as well as whey and cream from the dairy. The addition of brown sugar and mixed spices to the brine for this pork loin enhances the meat's natural sweet, spiced flavor.


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  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 10
  • Time(Other): Plus overnight marinating

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  • 1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon star anise pods
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 bay leaves
  • One 10-rib, bone-in pork loin roast (about 7 pounds)
  • 1 large red grapefruit
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, cored and very thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large pot, toast all of the spices over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the water, salt, brown sugar and bay leaves and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the brine into a large roasting pan and let cool to room temperature. Put the pork roast in the brine, meaty side down. Cover the roasting pan and refrigerate overnight. Bring the pork roast to room temperature in the brine before roasting.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Set the pork roast on a large rimmed baking sheet, meaty side up. Roast the pork in the upper third of the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 145°. Transfer the roast to a carving board; let rest for 15 minutes.

  3. Using a small, sharp knife, peel the red grapefruit, removing all of the bitter white pith. Working over a large bowl, cut in between the membranes, releasing the grapefruit sections into the bowl.

  4. In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and honey; season the dressing with salt and pepper. Add the sliced fennel and red onion to the grapefruit sections in the large bowl.

  5. Carve the pork roast into chops and transfer to plates. Toss the fennel salad with the dressing, mound the salad alongside the chops and serve.

Suggested Pairing

The first impulse might be to pair this roast pork loin with a red wine, but Michael Kwas, wine director at L'Etoile, prefers to serve it with a vibrant white wine like an Albariño. The wine has enough acidity to cut through the richness of the meat and also goes nicely with the citrusy fennel salad.

Contributed By Photo © Michael Turek Published February 2011

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