pork loin roulade with arugula pesto
This Pork Loin Roulade with Arugula Pesto is perfect for Christmas dinner or for good luck in the New Year. Lean pork loin roast gets a fancy holiday flavor boost from arugula pesto stuffed right inside.
This month’s Recipe ReDux is all about good luck foods for the New Year. Until Wednesday morning, as far as I knew, the only thing to eat for good luck for the New Year was black- eyed peas. More specifically, in my mind really the only way to eat them was in Texas Caviar. Having grown up in a house with a mom from Texas, we always celebrated New Years eve with Texas Caviar. I guess, if pressed, I remember food styling a recipe called Long Life Noodles with green tea in them for EatingWell back in oh, 2007. I guess that would be considered good luck. Having a long life I mean.
So then on Wednesday, somewhat resigned to do another version of Texas Caviar, or maybe try my hand at hoppin’ john, I decided to Google it. Well, let me tell you. Apparently I have been hiding my head somewhere, because there is a whole world of food out there that is considered to be good luck! Take a look at this list from awesome writer Elizabeth Gunnison. Now all of a sudden I needed to narrow down the possibilities of what I would make.
I had really wanted to do a roast this month, it being December and all. So I opted for the lucky pig. Supposedly pork will help bring prosperity in the new year. That sounds good! Also on the list are greens, so I decided to make a healthy interpretation of porchetta stuffed with greens. I was inspired in part by this stuffed flank by Gina.
Typically porchetta, an Italian roasted pork shoulder, is known for its fattiness. Some recipes even include adding lard into the stuffing. But I opted for a much leaner cut, the loin. They are naturally lower in fat and more tender. So they don’t require the all day open fire roasting that a typical porchetta would need. I butterflied it with my wicked sharp knife. Filled it with the pesto, much healthier than lard, and then re-rolled and tied it. To get nice even browning on the outside of the roast, I seared it in my skillet. Then for even more flavor, without adding calories I coated the outside with Dijon and garlic paste. Some porchetta recipes include fennel, so I added some fennel seeds into the crust mixture. Finally I finished it in the oven.
I made arugula salad with watermelon radishes, mixed citrus and olives to go with it. Leave me a comment letting me know if you have any good luck traditions, food related or no, on New Year’s.
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and divided
- 2 ½ cups baby arugula, plus more for garnish if desired
- ¼ cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts or pepitas
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 plus ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 2.3-pound trimmed boneless pork loin, only a thin fat cap left on.
- 2 teaspoons peanut or grape-seed or peanut oil
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Make Pesto: With motor running drop 1 clove garlic through feed tube of food processor and let mince. Add 2 ½ cups arugula, Pecorino Romano, pine nuts, olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt and process, scraping down the sides as necessary, until finely ground and smooth.
- Butterfly pork: Lay pork on work surface end facing you. Slice pork in a spiral pattern to butterfly it open to about 2/3-inch thick. First, hold knife horizontally, and slice along the side of the length of the loin cutting under the fat cap by about 2/3 of an inch to an inch thick. As you reach about 2/3 inch thick on the other side, turn your knife down toward the cutting board and continue cutting in a spiral until into the center. Open the pork out and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the pork. Pound meat to an even thickness with the smooth side of a meat mallet. About ½ to 2/3 inch thick only.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Stuff and roll pork: Remove plastic wrap and spread pesto over the pork. Roll the pork up into a log lengthwise. Tie in several places to hold it firmly back into a loin shape.
- Make garlic and fennel rub: Mince and mash the remaining clove of garlic and fennel seeds with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a mortar and pestle or with a chef knife until it forms a paste. Transfer the paste to a small dish. Stir in Dijon.
- Heat grape-seed oil in a large oven-proof skillet over high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Sear top (fat cap) and sides of the roast until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, place bottom-side-down and smear the garlic paste all over the top and sides of the roast.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the roast reaches 138 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the skillet, and allow to rest on a carving board, 10 to 15 minutes. Internal temperature of roast will continue to rise as the pork rests.Remove twine and slice to serve, garnishing with extra arugula if desired.
- Serving Size: 4 ounces