I can remember the precise moment I fell in love with rosemary.
It was in Germany, in the fall of 1994, just after I moved to the country for what would be a three-and-a-half year adventure. My birthday fell three weeks after I moved overseas, far away from family and friends. I didn’t speak the language and, truth be told, I felt pretty alone at first.
All government employees – and soldiers – were required to take a two-week German language immersion course upon arrival in Germany. Our teacher was Greta, and she looked like she just dropped out of an ad for the German National Tourism Board. She was robust and no-nonsense, but very kind, patient and funny.
When she discovered it was my birthday, the second to last day of the class, she invited us all to bring treats for lunch and she would provide the main course.
When she walked into that classroom that morning, bearing a large platter covered with a soft towel, I was hooked.
The smell of rosemary wafted from under the towel and permeated the classroom throughout the morning’s lesson. Mine wasn’t the only stomach growling in eager anticipation of the mid-day meal.
When our clumsy lessons finally wrapped up for the day and we reconvened at the work table – transformed into the lunch table – and Greta uncovered that platter, I knew I was in love.
She’d prepared a roast pork loin with rosemary and garlic. Although I’d had rosemary in other dishes, Greta had used entire fresh sprigs of what is now my favorite herb and skewered them into the pork like wands. The effect was stronger than what it would have been if she’d just chopped the leaves and the woodsy flavor carried through the entire roast.
Pork tenderloin is on sale this week at Brookshire’s, and I know one girl who will be recreating this magical dish in her own (American) kitchen.
Roast Pork Loin with Garlic and Rosemary
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or 2 tsp dried
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 (2 1/2 lb) boneless pork loin roast, well-trimmed
Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line 13×9-inch roasting pan with foil. Mix first 4 ingredients in bowl. Rub garlic 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.
Pour any juices from roasting pan into small saucepan; set over low heat to keep warm. Cut pork crosswise into 1/3-inch thick slices. Arrange pork slices on platter. Pour pan juices over. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 200, Total Fat: 7 g, Cholesterol: 100 mg, Protein: 27 g, Sodium: 246 mg, Fiber: 0 g.