When we first bought our house, the wife of one of Dan’s co-workers gave me part of her rosemary shrub. I had several herbs that I had been growing in window boxes attached to the fire escape outside our apartment in Norfolk’s Ghent neighborhood, and all of these were planted for the time being in a half-whiskey barrel.
This is our rosemary shrub a week or so ago – it’s blooming 🙂 One day last week, I was cutting back the thyme, which is under part of the rosemary, and kept brushing against it, setting off waves of rosemary and thyme fragrance. Mmmm.
Our first exchange student, Olaf, from Erfurt, Thuringia, Germany, helped us dig out our first herb garden, and it’s grown from there. I love cooking with fresh herbs, as well as fresh veggies. Can’t wait till the veggies are grown enough to pick.
Anyway, this is about the perennial herbs that are available now. We had a dinner party last weekend, and I made the Herb-Crusted Pork Roast from the January 2007 issue of Cooks Illustrated. It was delicious 🙂
I used rosemary and thyme from my garden and basil from the store. One friend brought the penne with four herbs and cheese, and another brought the homemade applesauce with rosemary. It was quite the herby dinner 😉
Herb-Crusted Pork Roast
2 1/2–3 pound boneless center-cut pork loin roast
1/4 cup sugar
1 large slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus an additional 2 teaspoons
Ground black pepper
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley or basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
Cut pocket in side of roast. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground (you should have 1 cup crumbs). Transfer crumbs to medium bowl (do not wash food processor workbowl) and add 2 tablespoons Parmesan, shallot, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Using fork, toss mixture until crumbs are evenly coated with oil.
Add parsley or basil, thyme, rosemary, garlic, remaining 6 tablespoons Parmesan, 3 tablespoons oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to now-empty food processor workbowl and process until smooth, about twelve 1-second pulses. Spread 1/4 cup herb paste inside roast and tie. Season roast with salt and pepper.
Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add roast, fat side down, and brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes, lowering heat if fat begins to smoke. Transfer roast to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
Spread remaining herb paste over roast and top with bread crumb mixture. Transfer baking sheet with roast to oven and cook until thickest part of roast registers 145 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 50 to 75 minutes. Remove roast from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Internal temperature should rise to 150 degrees. Using spatula and meat fork, transfer roast to carving board, taking care not to squeeze juices out of pocket in roast. Cut roast into 1/2-inch slices and serve immediately.