OCTOBER 23 2011


Today marked my first foray into "BIG MEAT"!! This recipe features a 6-bone rack of pork, which is a lot of pork, but I didn't want to do less than that because I knew it would change the cooking time. So instead I enlisted some willing friends to come help us eat it :)

buying some BIG MEAT at Gartner's

But, before we could eat, I had a little work to do.
First thing this morning, I rubbed the big guy with a lovely mix of olive oil, garlic, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme and chopped parsley. Then he chilled in the fridge for 6 hours, the minimum marinating time called for in the recipe.

rubbed down and ready to chill

Before going into the hot oven, I seasoned him very liberally with salt (2 tablespoons? really?) and white pepper. My instincts told me that the quantity of salt called for was a little much, so I "accidentally" spilled some of it onto the plate, missing the pork entirely, which I think was a good call. After 1 hour, 40 minutes in the oven (the timing was perfect too; hit 140ยบ just as the timer starting beeping), there was a 30 minute resting period before I could slice into it.

But I wasn't just standing around twiddling my thumbs because, per the recipe, the pork is served with broccoli rabe and semolina polenta. I had made the broccoli rabe previously, so I didn't worry too much about following the recipe exactly. But the polenta was all new. After bubbling away, with the occasional stir, for 45 minutes, the polenta is dressed up with pecorino romano, butter and some pine nuts and it's ready to go. I was a bit concerned because it seemed way more gloopy than cornmeal polenta, but it turned out to be really, really good. Soft and creamy and delicious!

lets eat!!

The pork was perfectly cooked and got sliced into big, meaty chops. I thought it a bit salty on the crust, but the overwhelming opinion around the table was that the salty crust balanced well with the less seasoned interior of the chop for a perfect bite. It also paired nicely with the bitter broccoli rabe and the cheesy, creamy polenta. Plus fresh baked bread and a blue cheese-hazelnut salad (thanks guys!) made for a fantastic meal!

the perfect plate of porky love :)

WARNING : semolina polenta does not firm up in the fridge so is completely useless for my favorite left-over polenta dish -- fried and topped with an over-easy egg... yummmmm! Instead, it just melts into gloop in the pan. Sigh.

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