05 May 2012

Roast Pork with Rhubarb

Well it's once again the season for rhubarb to start appearing in the markets and across the blogosphere. I can't say I mind. I love the tartness that rhubarb adds to sweet recipes like these Orange-Rhubarb Scones, or to crumbles and pies with sweeter fruits that are also starting to come into season. I have to confess, that, although the days of dowries have long past in France, my wedding agreements with D. may have included a certain number of Strawberry-Rhubarb Pies to be distributed throughout the course of our lives together (meticulously calculated with an equation involving number of pies per season, average life span and other variables).

However, although my CSA seems to think that rhubarb should count as my weekly fruit, I believe rhubarb is more correctly considered a vegetable and like most vegetables, it shines when roasted. To be fair, I did not come up with this idea, but when it comes to sailing off the edge of the culinary map, there's no one I trust more to navigate than Jaime Oliver (see: my slow but steady conversion to his recipes like Wild Mushroom Soup and this Seriously Good Grilled Zucchini Salad). This recipe is surprising and absolutely delicious. Like most of Oliver's recipes, it's not hard to make and whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

(serves 4)

One bunch of fresh sage (I had to go to the three different places to get this, but I think fresh sage is so definitely worth it.)
1 clove garlic, peeled
olive oil
2 pork fillets, trimmed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 slices Parma ham or prosciutto (I used speck)
7-12 sticks of rhubarb (enough to blanket the bottom of your baking dish)

Crush a good handful of fresh sage in a pestle and mortar. Crush in the garlic and then add 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Rub this mixture all over the pork fillets.  Let marinate for an hour (if you have the time).  Preheat the oven to 425ºF / 220ºC.  Lightly season the pork with salt and pepper, and wrap 5 slices of ham/prosciutto around each fillet.  Cut the rhubarb into finger-sized pieces and place in an appropriately sized roasting tray.  Lay the pork on top of the rhubarb. (You can rub the rest of the marinade into the ham at this point if you like). Sprinkle leftover sage leaves over the dish and drizzle with olive oil.  Get a piece of wax paper, wet it and scrunch it up, lay it over the meat and tuck it in around the sides.

Cook in the preheated oven for 15 mins, remove the paper and cook for another 15 mins.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 mins.  Slice the meat at an angle in thick slices and serve with juice over the roasted rhubarb. I served this with baked potatoes drizzled with sage butter. Oh, so yum!