Roast Herb Salted Pork Rack with Roasted Cauliflower, Fennel and Olives
There are some very classic flavours in this roast rack of pork and they come together to make the most amazing roast dinner. After travelling to London twice in the last 6 months I feel like my appreciation for a good pork roast has gone through the ceiling. This is my dream roast and it doesn’t even include potatoes. Just a really beautiful rack of St Bernard’s Free Range Pork, caramelised cauliflower and fennel and a sort of parmesan gravy to tie it all together.
The cauliflower, fennel, thyme and rosemary go so well with this full flavoured amazing quality rack of pork. It also gets cooked underneath the pork so all the flavour drips into it. Something I saw at every French marketplace I went to on the same trip mentioned above. Adding the Sicilian Olives ½ way through roasting the vegetables keeps them from drying up completely while adding a nice little flavour bomb to the finished dish.
Now the sauce: By having a little bit of dijon mustard in the parmesan sauce it really ties things together while bringing to mind cauliflower cheese – and that used to be my favourite part of having a roast as a kid. I’ve skipped the potatoes this time to really let the vegetables shine through, and you really don’t need them. But you could add them if it’s just not a roast without them. Or serve it with mashed potatoes to give yourself more oven space.
The fennel seed and herb salt rub smells incredible and it adds a delicious flavour to the pork, but it doesn’t over power the amazing flavour this St Bernard’s Free Range Pork Rack has. I love knowing exactly where my meat comes from and getting meat from a farm that goes above and beyond minimum requirements to produce such a wonderful quality product is ideal. I’m so pleased to partner with them on this recipe series.
One of the most important parts of a pork roast is the crackling, and this recipe shouldn’t disappoint. You can do what I did and get your butcher to trim and score the rack for you, they will usually also sell it rolled with string and that’s what you want for this recipe. Drying it out in the fridge for at least an hour helps ensure a better crackle but if you can leave it over night that’s even better. The one pictured was just left uncovered in the fridge for a couple of hours and the crackling was a shattering good time.
Instructions are for a 2kg piece of pork, if you’re doing more than that you’ll need to adjust the cooking time. The equation I work with. Is 30 minutes at 230 then 30 minutes at 170 for every kilogram.
Approx 2kg or 6 rib rolled St Bernard’s Free Range Pork Rack
2 Tbs Rosemary leaves
2 Tbs thyme leaves
1 dried chilli
1 tsp black peppercorns
3 tsps sea salt
2 tsps lemon zest
1 large cauliflower (2 small)
2 small -medium fennel bulbs
3 garlic cloves
3 sprigs Thyme
3 Sprigs rosemary
2 tsps extra virgin olive oil
10 Sicilian green olives
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs flour
1 cup of chicken stock
⅓ cup milk
⅓ cup parmesan
1 tsp dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to season
Flat leaf parsley to serve, optional
Place the pork rack on a plate, uncovered, in the fridge for 1 hr up to overnight. Remove the rack from the fridge and pat dry with a paper towel. Allow it to come to room temperature.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 230 degrees celsius (fan forced, go up to 250 if not fan forced).
Make the salt rub either by placing all ingredients in a mortar and pestle and pounding until fine or by using a food processor.
Rub a little olive oil all over the pork and then rub in the salt mix, Make sure you cover the hole rack not just the skin. Place directly on a rack in your preheated oven, skin side up, and put a lined oven tray underneath. This tray needs to be nice and big to fit your vegetables later. Roast for 30 minutes at this temperature. Use the light to check it but don’t open the door as you’ll loose heat, and crackle. During this time it should puff up and get crackling. Turn the oven down to 170 degrees and roast for a further 20 minutes. Before adding the vegetables (see next step).
While this is happening prepare your cauliflower by separating into just bigger than bite sized florets, chop up the stalk too. Remove the outer skin of the fennel and chop into eighths. Place in a bowl with the olive oil and toss. Once pork has been at 170 for 20 minutes add the vegetables in an even spread in the tray below. If the tray is not big enough, do a second tray- just be sure to swap them half way through cooking. Add the rosemary and thyme sprigs.
After 20 minutes add the olives and garlic cloves, shake the trays as needed and then continue cooking for a further 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: Put a small pot on medium heat, add the oil and then the flour and whisk for a few minutes to form a roux. Slowly whisk in the stock and then the milk. Simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened. Add the mustard and parmesan and simmer for a few more minutes. You can reheat when ready to serve if need be.
Remove the Pork when the vegetables still have 15 minutes to go, the pork should have been cooking for 1 hour and 30 minutes for a 2kg piece. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Once rested snip off the string and then use the rib lines as a guide to slice it with a sharp knife, Serve with the roasted vegetables and parmesan sauce. You can scatter some parsley over the vegetables and serve with a side of lemon if you’re feeling fancy.
This post was sponsored by the lovely folks a St Bernard’s Free Range Pork.
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