Roast Pork and Ratatouille
Sunday's are my favorite day of the week for cooking! I can take my time, use fresh ingredients from the weekend Farmer's Market haul, sip on a few glasses of wine, and enjoy the smells and sizzles coming from the kitchen. This week I was inspired by Julia Child and decided on roast pork with ratatouille, check it out below.
On Sunday's I love to cook something warm and comforting -- even in the summer. A big pot of meatballs with homemade sauce, braised chicken, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, chile verde, you get the idea -- something that makes me feel relaxed and happy before the work week begins.
As I was surveying my fridge and pantry I discovered half of a giant pork tenderloin had finally defrosted, lots of ripe tomatoes right off the vine from my urban garden, and some eggplant and zucchini from the Takoma Park Farmer's Market. So I decided on Julia Child's zuchinni and eggplant gratin (aka ratatouille), and a garlic stuffed tenderloin with a sweet and spicy dry rub.
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Roast Pork And Rataouille
Feeds: 6-8, or 2 with a week of leftovers :)
What You Need:
1 5lb. Pork Loin (I got an 8 lb. loin from Costco and cut it in half-ish)
8 Garlic Cloves, whole
2 Tbsp. Mustard Powder
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. Thyme, ground
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Coriander, ground
1 tsp. Cayenne
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2 Medium Eggplants
1 Tbsp Herbs de Provence
1 tsp. salt
2 Medium Zucchini
3 or 4 Ripe Tomatoes
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese, fresh*
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Herbs de Provence
What To Do With It:
Preheat oven to 500º.
Remove the loin from the fridge and bring to room temperature.**
Make 8 slits in the top of the loin (fat side up), and insert one garlic clove into each slit.
Mix all of the spices together in a small bowl and rub generously on all sides of the tenderloin.
With the fat side up, place loin on a sheet tray with a rack insert.***
Roast for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 400º. The high heat will render the fat cap on the tenderloin and caramelize the sugar in the spice rub.
Continue cooking for 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 145º F. (At this time you can place the assembled ratatouille in the oven, put it on a rack above the pork).
Let rest for 10 minutes, slice and serve.
Arrange the rack on the upper-middle level of the oven and preheat to 400º.
Smear a baking sheet generously with 1/3 cup of the olive oil and sprinkle with some herbs de Provence.
Trim off ends of eggplant and slice on the diagonal into ovals 1/2" thick.
One at a time, lay the slices on the baking sheet, press each side to coat lightly with oil and herbs.
Arrange the slices in a single layer and sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon each of salt on each side.
Bake for about 15 minutes until the eggplant slices are soft and somewhat shriveled; allow to cool briefly.
Leave the oven on if you will be baking the gratin right away.
Meanwhile, trim the ends off the zucchini and cut into round slices no more than 1/4" thick.
Salt the zucchini and let it sit for about 15 minutes then wipe the salt & moisture off. Otherwise the casserole will be too watery.
Core the tomatoes and cut into slices 1/4" thick.
Spread out the tomato slices and sprinkle them lightly with 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.
Assembling the gratin
Film baking dish well with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle a teaspoon of the herbs de Provence all over the bottom.
Alternate one eggplant slice, one tomato slice and two zucchini slices in a round pattern until the dish is filled. Make any design you like!
Arrange each new row of slices so the colorful top edges of the previous row are still visible.
Topping and baking
Mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan and teaspoon of herbs de Provence.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil, then toss and rub it in with your fingers to coat the crumbs but keep them loose.
Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the vegetables and drizzle remaining oil over all.
Place dish in center of oven and bake for 40 minutes until vegetables are soft, the juices are bubbling, and the top is a deep golden brown.
If the crumbs need more browning you can stick them under the broiler for a few moments.
As Julia would say, Bon Appetit!
Feeds: 6-8, or 2 with a week of leftovers :)
*Hangry District Tip: Please invest in some real/shredded Parmesan cheese. I know the shaky green bottle is convenient, but it is basically just salt powder - the shredded stuff keeps just as long.
**Hangry District Tip: Bringing meat to room temperature before cooking reduces the risk of steaming, which will prevent the fat from rendering.
***Hangry District Tip: Roasting meat on a rack allows for the fat drippings to escape, so the meat doesn't get soggy on the bottom from sitting in it's own fat.
Ratatouille recipe adapted from Julia and Jacques Cooking At Home.