- Course: Main Course
- Total Time: Under 4 Hours
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 5 Times
Fromage blanc is a simple cheese that looks a lot like ricotta but is a little less sweet. It is delectable when sweetened with honey and raisins, and equally good in a savory context. In this recipe, the cheese creates a textural foil for the broccoli rabe (also called rapini), a bitter green, and is a host for the flavorful lemon peel and garlic. The filling picks up the flavors of the prosciutto-lined pork loin and at the same time acts as a warm blanket around the leafy greens. Because of its ease and its visual appeal, this dish would make a particularly good main course at your next holiday dinner.
- 1 boneless center cut pork loin roast, about 3 pounds (make sure loin is one piece, not two tied together)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 6 ounces (about ¾ cup), fromage blanc (or use ricotta)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 ounces broccoli rabe, stems trimmed, bunches separated into individual long strands (or use baby broccoli, chard, or kale)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 ounces prosciutto, sliced paper-thin
- Kitchen string
Butterfly the pork: Place the roast on your work surface with one long side facing you. Using a sharp knife, make a horizontal cut in the roast lengthwise one-third down from the top and all the way from end to end. Do not cut all the way through to the other side; cut only to within ½ inch of the other side. You have just created a flap like the cover of a book. Open that flap.
To make the next cut, press the flat side of your knife against the inside of that flap. Using the tip of the knife, make a 2-inch downward cut along the entire length of the roast. Now place your knife, blade down, into the cut you have just made. Create your second “book cover” by cutting back through the remaining thick part of the meat with a horizontal cut just like the first cut you made, to within ½ inch of the side. Open that flap. You should have one flat piece of meat about 1 inch thick.
Place plastic wrap or butcher paper over the meat and gently pound it with a meat pounder or other heavy object such as canned tomatoes, to a thickness of about ½ inch. The meat should be one relatively flat piece. If it does not lay flat, make small cuts in the thickest parts; this will help. Salt and pepper both sides of the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
Prepare the cheese mixture: In a small bowl, mix together the fromage blanc, garlic, and lemon zest. Set aside. (You can make this up to 24 hours ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate.)
To prepare the broccoli rabe: Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the broccoli rabe, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is tender but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes (if it is sticking to the pan, add a little water). Add the pepper flakes and salt to taste. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
To assemble: Place the roast on your work surface with one long side closest to you. Lay the slices of prosciutto on the meat to cover most of the surface. Carefully spread the fromage blanc mixture over the prosciutto, leaving a 1-inch border around the roast. Lay the broccoli rabe lengthwise down the center of the cheese mixture.
Starting at the side of the meat closest to you, gently roll the meat away from you to enclose the filling. Using kitchen string, tie the roast about every 1½-inches to make sure it stays closed. (Note: If the meat is quite difficult to roll, simply remove 1 or 2 stems of the broccoli rabe.)
In an ovenproof sauté pan large enough to hold the meat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the roast and, using tongs, turn constantly to brown it evenly on all sides. This will take about 10 minutes. Once the outside of the meat is light brown, transfer the pan to the oven.
Cook for 40 to 45 minutes or until the meat measures between 148°F and 153°F on a meat thermometer and the meat feels firm but not stiff. Remove the meat from the oven, and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Slice and serve.
© 2007 Laura Werlin
This recipe serves 8, and includes 1/8 teaspoon of added salt per serving.