While ham and turkey are often the centerpieces of holiday meals, a roasted rack of pork is a simple, flavorful alternative. Chef Mitchell noted a few raised eyebrows when he served it for Christmas dinner, but no one complained once they took a taste.
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/4 cup dried herbes de Provence
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp saffron
freshly ground pepper
One eight to ten bone pork rack, cut from the front of the loin section, bones in and frenched*
Mix first six ingredients together.
Rinse and pat dry the rack of pork and place in a baking dish. Combine salt, sugar, pepper, and herbs in a bowl. Rub liberally onto the pork and place in the refrigerator for a half hour. Then turn the pork over and let sit for another half hour.
Center a roasting rack in the oven and preheat to 475°F. Thoroughly rinse the pork with lukewarm water (to wash away excess salt) and pat dry with paper towels. Set the meat on roasting rack. To protect the bones from scorching, wrap the end of each (about two inches) with folded-over tinfoil, lightly brushed with olive oil.
Give the pork a light brush of olive oil and a healthy grinding of fresh black pepper. Roast in the oven for ten minutes. After that “sizzle,” lower heat to 275°F. For a slightly pink center, continue to cook the roast until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the roast reads 135°F, about 15 to 18 minutes per pound, or another 75 to 90 minutes.
Remove pork from oven. Do not slice! Allow meat to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and carve into single portions to serve 8-10 and place portions on a platter with fresh rosemary and thyme. Serve.
*Ask the butcher to “French” the roast (the meat and fat are removed from the bones).