Have you ever tried speck?
It’s basically my new favorite charcuterie meat.
Speck is essentially smoked prosciutto.
So you get that tender salty meat, with a nice smoky flavor on the back end. It goes great with creamy goat cheese or mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and grilled bread.
It also goes GREAT wrapped around a giant pork loin & baked until crispy.
It’s like bacon-wrapped meat, but better, because it’s thinner and less fatty so it gets nice and crisp.
And how can you take it to an even better level?
Schmear some garlic herb butter on it.
The basic process for making a killer pork loin is as follows:
- First, get a nice sear on the meat. Pat the loin dry with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper. Then pan sear it over high heat until the loin has a nice golden color on all sides (this adds tons of flavor!)
- Let it rest for a sec, then slather with flavored butter. I used a mixture of butter flavored with salt, pepper, lemon zest, garlic, and basil.
- Wrap the whole thing in tons of speck. Wrapping the loin in the speck last helps trap the butter against the meat, encouraging it to soak in and flavor each bite. It also gets nice and golden and crispy while it bakes.
- Let it rest after it’s done baking. This helps the juices redistribute and absorb into the meat, so the juices don’t go spilling everywhere when you slice it.
And that’s pretty much it!
When the loin is done, just slice it carefully into crosswise slices and make sure you get all those crispy pieces that might fall off when you cut it!
This meal goes great with simple sides like The World’s Easiest Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pepitas, or Pan Sauteed Mushrooms.
- 4 pound pork loin
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper, for seasoning
- Splash of grapeseed oil or other high-heat friendly oil
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 6 cloves garlic, pressed with a garlic press or finely minced
- 2 heaping tablepsoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 25 or so thin slices of speck (smoked prosciutto), (enough to cover the pork loin)
Pat the pork loin dry with paper towels, then season well on all sides with kosher salt and ground black pepper.
Add two tablespoons of oil to a large heavy pan (preferably cast iron) and warm over high heat. Add the pork loin to the pan and sear a few minutes on each side, turning as needed, until the pork develops a nice golden color on all sides and ends.
Remove the pork loin from the pan and let it rest/cool while you prepare the herb butter.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put the softened butter in a small bowl, and use a fork to mash it together with the garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
When the pork has cooled enough so that you can comfortably touch it, place it on a roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Use your hands to rub the butter mixture all over the top of the pork loin.
Next, starting at one end of the pork loin and working your way to the other, lay the slices of speck across the pork, tucking any loose ends underneath the sides of the loin. Let the speck slices overlap slightly as you lay them across the pork. They will shrink when they crisp up, so you want the slices overlapping to avoid any weird gaps in the final product.
Place the pork in the oven and roast for about an hour and a half, or until the center of the loin reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit (use a ThermaPen or other instant read thermometer to check).
When the loin is done cooking, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. The rest will allow the roast finish cooking and to allow the juices to redistribute.
When the loin is done resting, slice it carefully into crosswise slices, taking care to serve the crispy speck pieces with each slice.
Who doesn’t crave sweet potato fries every now and then?
The salty-sweet combo gets me every time.
And they are especially delicious when served with aioli.
Classic aioli, pesto aioli, herbed garlic aioli, or my personal favorite, chipotle aioli.
Have you tried the slightly more tender (and easier to make) sweet potato wedges?
I mean, it doesn’t get much easier. You don’t even have to peel the sweet potatoes! Simply slice into wedges, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and bake for about 30 minutes.
Voila! You’ve got a giant plate of creamy golden wedges, just waiting for dipping.
For reals, don’t skip the sauce. It’s everything.
I lightened it up a little by using half Greek yogurt, half mayo, and kicked up the flavor by like 10 notches by stirring in canned chipotle peppers, lime, and fresh garlic.
It’s so good, you may find yourself using the fries as a glorified aioli scooper. (Hey, I won’t judge).
- 2 extra large sweet potatoes, or 3 medium-large, (enough to fill 1 baking sheet when cut up)
- Generous drizzle of olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle peppers, or more, to taste
- Juice of 1/4 lime
- 1 clove garlic, minced
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes until they are clean. Pat them dry with paper towels.
Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut each half into lengthwise wedges. If your sweet potatoes are extra long, cut them in half cross-wise first, before you slice into wedges.
Place the potato wedges on the parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat, and spread the wedges out evenly.
Place the potatoes in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the potatoes are browned and tender.
As the potatoes bake, make the aioli dipping sauce by stirring together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, chipotle, lime juice, and garlic. Let rest in the refrigerator until the wedges are done.
When the potatoes are done, remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Serve right away with the chipotle aioli.
Fusilli might win the award for “most fun noodle shape”.
Those little spirals make you feel like a kid again, playfully eating silly noodle shapes (perhaps with a neon orange cheesy sauce?? 😉 ).
Fusilli sometimes gets a bad rap as the quintessential “pasta salad noodle”, but I think it works wonders in warm dishes.
Unlike dishes with straight noodles like penne, all the little crevices in the fusilli trap the herbs, cheeses, sauces, and seasonings, basically guaranteeing huge flavor in every bite.
I know I’ve been on a pasta kick lately, but this impromptu meal was too good not to share.
It’s a huge pot of noodles tossed with spicy sausage, fresh herbs, feta cheese, and swiss chard.
This is a great way to sneak some extra leafy greens into your week.
I’ve been eating a lot more chard and kale ever since I signed up for an Imperfect Produce delivery box!
There’s nothing more motivating than the arrival of several giant bunches of greens at your doorstep. You’ve gotta get cooking with them before they start to wilt!
And it doesn’t get much easier than adding some greens to your pasta.
Simply wash well, roughly chop the leaves, and cook just enough to wilt (but stay vibrant green). Toss with the pasta, cheeses, and herbs, and you’re done!
PS if you’re gluten free, this dish would work well with quinoa or corn pasta, and you can totally swap out the pasta shape for any other fun, sauce-grabbing noodle like farfalle, shells, or radiatori.
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 16 to 19 ounces hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large bunches Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves cut into 1/2 inch strips
- 1 1/2 cups beef stock
- 1 pound dried fusilli pasta
- 12 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook, using a spatula to break it up into small pieces. Continue cooking until the sausage is well browned, about 15 minutes.
Add the minced garlic to the sausage and let cook for 1 minute or so, until fragrant. Then remove the sausage and garlic to a plate and set it aside for later.
Return the skillet to the stove top. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and all of the beef broth to the skillet. Bring to a boil and let cook for 1 minute to reduce slightly. Add the chard and cook, uncovered, for about 7 minutes, or until the chard is tender.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fusilli and cook according to package directions, about 10 minutes. When the pasta is tender, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.
Add the drained fusilli to the skillet that has the Swiss chard. Add the sausage back to the skillet as well and toss to combine. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water if the pasta seems dry. Sprinkle the pasta with the feta cheese and fresh herbs. Season generously with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and drizzle with another two tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to combine, then serve.