When I come up with a dish that is so easy to do and so memorable at the same time, I feel inspired to try different variations. It’s like testing the limits, if that makes sense to you. I want to find out how versatile a dish is, how much substitution, addition and omission it can handle and, most importantly, I want to make sure that the first time was not a fluke. So, following the same basic recipe for the rolled porkloin with bacon, basil and rosemary, I did another rolled porkloin dish but, this time, the stuffing was more basic — chopped garlic, onion and tomatoes. The seasonings were just as basic — salt and pepper. Because basil tastes so good with tomatoes and garlic, I added some basil too.
- 500 to 600 grams slab of pork loin with a thin layer of fat on one side
- 1/2 head garlic
- 1 large white onion
- 2 plump and juicy tomatoes unripe green tomatoes won’t work
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Cut the pork so that you have a large piece that is uniformly about a quarter of an inch thick. It’s not that hard so long as you have a very sharp knife. With your palm pressing the pork, cut horizontally from one end of the pork to the other but without going all the way through. If the pork is rather thick, cut in such a way that the top slice is 1/4-inch thick. Then, turn the pork over and cut through the thicker portion in like manner. Repeat until the entire slab of meat is of uniform thickness.
Lay the meat flat and season with salt and pepper.
Peel the garlic and onion and chop coarsely. Chop the tomatoes as well. Don’t be tempted to chop them very finely. You don’t want them expelling their liquid before they get into the oven. Spread the chopped vegetables on the entire surface of the pork. Sprinkle the basil on top. Roll up the pork as tightly as you can so that the fatty side is on top while the edge is tucked underneath.
Brush a shallow baking pan with 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Lay the rolled pork on the pan, fat side up. Sprinkle salt lightly over the pork. Sprinkle liberally with freshly ground pepper. Pour the remaining olive oil over the pork. Roast in a 180oC oven for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a chopping board. Let rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into half-inch slices.