January 15, 2015 – Garlic-Rosemary Rubbed Pork Loin and Roasted Asparagus with Crunchy Parmesan Topping

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Thursday, we had a mix of one leftover, Garlic-Rosemary Rubbed Pork Loin, and a new side, Roasted Asparagus with Crunchy Parmesan Topping. Here’s how Tony got dinner on the table:

Since the pork loin was basically cooked (more on that later), all I needed to do was warm it up. I figured I would start with the asparagus, because the recipe says it can be served at room temperature, so I knew I could let is sit while I warmed up the pork loin. I cut off the hard ends of the asparagus, placed the spears in two layers a shallow glass dish, drizzled them with olive oil, and sprinkled on some salt and pepper. The asparagus went into a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes, after which I spooned the parmesan-bread crumb mixture on top. The recipe doesn’t say how much parmesan cheese and bread crumbs to use to make the topping, so I mixed together two tablespoons of each, which worked out perfectly. I then put the asparagus under the broiler for about 2 minutes and put the dish aside while I worked on the pork.

The leftover pork has a bit of a back story. We made it for my parents, who we had invited over for their anniversary. I planned to use a pork  tenderloin, like when we made Chili-Glazed Pork with Sweet Potato Hash or Fig Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, because pork tenderloin is so easy to cook: just 10 or 15 minutes under the broiler and it’s done. I couldn’t get a pork tenderloin, so I got a pork loin instead. I knew the pork loin would take much longer to cook, but I figured I would just start cooking earlier; it was a Saturday, so we had time. The pork loin, however, took what seemed like forever; I think I said “I think it probably needs just 10 more minutes” about four times! Fortunately I had cut the pork loin into two pieces, and when the smaller piece was done, I took both pieces out of the oven, sliced and served the cooked one and sliced and froze the under-cooked one. We had dinner at a reasonable time, but I learned a valuable lesson: pork loin and pork tenderloin are both tasty pig parts, but they are very different tasty pig parts.

So, for tonight I put the pork in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes to finish cooking. This proved to be a bit longer than needed, so the pork was a little dry, but it was still pretty good.

The asparagus, however, we cooked perfectly: bright green and still crunchy. The parmesan-bread crumb topping was a nice touch, but I think nice time, as the recipe suggests I’ll use more coarsely ground bread crumbs and mate even shaved (versus grated) parmesan. We paired this up with dry Riesling for a nice Thursday night dinner.

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