Dining at my house is family food, family style, no matter who is eating. Heaps of food, piles of plates, and everyone grabs what they like and sits where they wish. If I thought of having people over as a Dinner Party I’d probably scare myself out of it, because it would imply things I never do, like set the table nicely or use my wedding china. It’s casual here, feeding family, and friends as family.
I don’t get worked up for holiday meals (again, too much pressure) so it was just a happy surprise that our Easter meal this year was actually pretty, holiday-ish and guest-worthy. Because in truth I just picked the easiest main dish I could think of for our party of 20: two giant roast pork loins, rubbed with garlic and fresh rosemary from my yard.
Pork loin is ideal company food. You need at least a small crowd to cook a roast, so just having one is special. A roast takes very little prep – a quick pat of aromatics – and cooks in the oven without fuss. It’s not expensive, unlike beef tenderloin, and doesn’t call for tying like its beef counterpart.
There’s hardly any work with pork loin. You could trim off some excess fat. But you’ll want to keep a layer on to keep the meat moist as it cooks. Once it’s done, it slices as easily as a loaf of bread.
We had an extra-large group for Easter this year, with family in from Ohio for their spring break. Plus our California family is getting bigger, with my brother’s in-laws who retired and moved in, baby nephews now turned preschoolers, and more babies on the way this year. California used to be the quiet side of the family, but now it’s a party on both sides.
Rosemary practically grows itself in our area of California. A plant native to the Mediterranean, it’s perfectly at home in the California climate and is drought tolerant to boot.
Chop it up and add plenty of garlic, salt and pepper.
Then rub the mixture all over the surface of the pork loin.
If you add a little olive oil to the mixture, it will be more of a paste. Since the pork had plenty of fat, I just rubbed it dry.
Cook it with the fat layer on top.
Pork loin is a lean cut, so this is a hot and fast kind of cooking situation, not low and slow. It’s done in no time. A meat thermometer will help get the cooking time right.
Juicy pork loin, salad, roasted asparagus and potatoes, and the first of the season’s strawberries. Easy.
Slices like a dream, no carving skill needed. A bigger loin is no more work than a small one, so plan on extra for leftovers. My kids happily brought succulent pork loin sandwiches to school all week and were sad when it was gone.
We laughed all week with our Ohio family, doing fun things we never get around to doing in the course of normal life.
Roasemary Roast Pork Loin
Food for a crowd doesn’t get much easier than pork loin, which needs hardly any prep to produce a succulent roast that always seems special. Adapted from Epicurious.
- 4 large garlic cloves, pressed
- 4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 2 1/2-pound boneless pork loin roast, trimmed
- Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix first 4 ingredients in bowl. Rinse and dry pork loin, trimming any excess fat but leaving on a good layer to keep the roast moist during cooking. Rub garlic-rosemary mixture all over pork.
- Place pork, fat side down, in prepared roasting pan. Roast pork 30 minutes. Turn roast fat side up. Roast until thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 155°F, about 25 minutes longer. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.
- Cut pork crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Arrange pork slices on platter. Pour pan juices over. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.
- If you prefer, you could add a bit of olive oil to the garlic-rosemary mixture to make it more of a paste.
Here’s the link to a printable version.