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Fennel-Garlic Pork Roast

FOOD & WINE Wine Club Fennel-Garlic Pork Roast FOOD & WINE Wine Club Fennel-Garlic Pork Roast
This aromatic pork roast is super-versatile: Excellent right out of the oven, it’s also great at room temperature or cold for sandwiches.
Servings: 8 to 10
Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours plus overnight brining
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
18 fresh bay leaves (1/3 ounce)
10 thyme sprigs
10 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2 heads of garlic, halved horizontally
1 cup kosher salt
3 quarts cold water
One 4-pound boneless pork loin, tied
2 tablespoons fennel seeds, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
1. MAKE THE BRINE In a medium saucepan, combine the honey, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, garlic and salt with 1 quart of the water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. Pour the brine into a large bowl and let cool. Add the remaining 2 quarts of cold water along with the pork and refrigerate overnight (12 to 18 hours). Drain and pat dry, picking off any seasonings.

2. MAKE THE RUB In a mini food processor or a mortar, combine the fennel seeds, red pepper, garlic, lemon zest and salt and process or pound to a paste. Stir in the olive oil. Rub half of the spice paste on the lean side of the pork and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 350° and set a rack on a large rimmed baking sheet. On a large griddle, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the pork fat side down and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pork to the rack, fat side up, and slather with the remaining garlic paste. Roast the pork for about 1 hour, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 140° to 145°. Let rest for 20 minutes before slicing. —Jeff Cerciello