At every Tuscan market, there is always a freshly roasted pig seasoned with garlic, rosemary and sage ready to serve up. Fresh from the oven, the smell is intoxicating and people line up to savor thick slices on crusty bread. With this simple recipe, you too can delight your own palate with these traditional Tuscan flavours.
Makes 6-8 servings
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh rosemary, finely chopped, plus 2 sprigs
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh sage, finely chopped, plus 2 sprigs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) sea salt
1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper, freshly grated
4½ - 5 pounds (1.8 kg - 2.5 kg) pork loin, centre cut
3 pounds (l.5 kg) potatoes, peeled and cut into l-inch (2.5cm) chunks
3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Combine the garlic, rosemary and sage together. Add in the olive oil to form a paste. Mix in the sea salt and season with pepper.
Cut the pork loin in half lengthwise and open like a book. Rub the center with the garlic/rosemary/sage paste and reassemble with the butcher string. Rub the remaining paste all over the outside of the pork. Let the pork marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
Place the loin, fat side up onto a rack in a roasting pan. Put pan in the middle of the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F/190°C and continue to roast for 1½ - 2 hours until the meat thermometer registers 160°F/70°C.
While the pork is roasting, boil the potatoes in a large pot of water for 10 minutes to soften. Drain and put in a bowl with the olive oil and rosemary, coating well. About 40 minutes before the pork is to be done, transfer the potatoes to the roasting pan to finish cooking with the meat.
Remove from the oven and tent the pork, letting it rest for 20 minutes before serving.
Garnish top with sprigs of fresh rosemary and sage.