Brined Pork Loin w/Caramelized Salsify

Brining has long been the professional chef's secret method for keeping some of the leaner cuts of meat tender and moist. Soaking or marinating meat in a salt solution tenderizes it and adds water, which in turn slowly cooks out when it's in the oven. Since roasting is one of the more dehydrating forms of cooking, adding extra moisture is a good guarantee your meat won't dry out.

Brining has become increasingly popular with home cooks, as has the practice of adding flavor by introducing more ingredients than just salt to the brine. I find brining works great with pork loin, which is pleasantly mild, and in this simple recipe I add a bay leaf and peppercorns for a subtle flavor accent.

Brined Pork Loin w/Caramelized Salsify
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  • 4 quarts water
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup black peppercorns
  • 1 6 pound pork loin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon
  • 1 medium spanish onion
  • 5 cups salsify
  • 5 cups white turnip
  • 1 spring fresh rosmary
  • 2 tablespoons Grapeseed oil
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  1. Brine the pork loin: Place the water, salt, bay leaf and peppercorns in a large 5-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once the brine has cooled to room temperature, add the pork loin, cover the pan and place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 
  3. Transfer the pork loin to a rack inside a roasting pan and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before roasting.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  5. Season the meat all over with the salt and pepper.
  6. Roast for about 45 minutes, until the juices run clear when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, or a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 145–150°F.
  7. Remove the roast loin from the oven, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Place the grapeseed oil in a large 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, salsify, turnips, and rosemary and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are deep golden in color and nicely caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and arrange on a serving platter. 
  9. Cut the pork loin into 1-inch-thick slices and place on top of the vegetables.
  10. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, if desired, and serve.
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