A decent apartment in Manhattan or San Francisco may run you a small fortune, but food is cheap here in the U.S. compared to so many places around the world. This 2.2 pound roast pork loin cost less than $5.00 and served two people for three dinners and then some. Or a family of four could easily have enjoyed one or two nourishing, tasty meals for the same amount of money.
Since there are only two of us here eating this roast, it can get boring to reheat the leftover slices in the same manner day after day. I intentionally cooked this roast in a plain Jane kind of fashion because I wanted to taste the full effect of the fennel pollen I smeared all over the exterior, rather than be confused by the flavors of a stuffing or more exotic seasonings.
My daughter gave me some real fennel pollen for Christmas, after I created a “faux fennel pollen” a few months ago that I blogged about here.
The results with the real fennel pollen were scarcely different from that of my faux fennel pollen mix, leading me to believe that it’s not worth paying the $8/oz. for the real stuff when the pretend stuff gives nearly the same flavor.
For the first go-round, it was the plain old 2.2 pound roast pork cooked in a roasting pan with onions. Just cut some slits all over the pork, and insert little slivers of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and fennel pollen or the faux fennel pollen mix. Roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. We ate it accompanied by Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and half of a baked sweet potato.
Round two was the sandwich pictured below. Start by cooking some broccoli rape in water until tender, then drain it and add it to a pan where you’ve sautéed some minced garlic in a little bit of olive oil. Toss the broccoli rape with the oil, and add some salt and red pepper flakes.
Take a couple of slices of the pork, put them in a skillet at very low heat and top with slices of provolone cheese and some roasted red peppers (these beauties were courtesy of Joe of Italyville.) Place a lid on the skillet to help the cheese melt. Assemble the sandwich by placing some of the broccoli rape on the bottom of a crusty roll, then add two slices of the cheese and roast pepper-covered pork. It’s worth making the roast pork just to have leftovers for this sandwich. We ate it with some roasted beets and orange sections.
Day three was a pasta dish. I still had some broccoli rape from the previous night so that got thrown into the mix too. Start by sautéing some mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add some of the leftover pork that you cut into small bits and any leftover onion pieces. You’ll have some liquid in the pan from the mushrooms, but you’ll probably need a little more. I added some chicken stock, but you could use some of the water from the pasta you’re cooking too. Add the leftover broccoli rape and toss everything together with a pasta of your choice. I used 1/2 pound of strozzapreti (which literally means strangle the priest). Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.
This is the pork roast that keeps on giving. All for less than $5.00. There’s still half the pasta left over, plus enough slices of the roast pork to make another meal if they’re stretched with rice, or beans or some other starch. Risotto anyone?