|Top Loin Roast with Garlic-Herb Butter|
Once I found the Cooking Channel and the WETA channel here in Washington, D.C., I really just stopped watching any other food channel, network, or shows altogether. It is on these channels that I've found shows taped in Florence and Toronto, old Jacques and Julia episodes, even Jose Andres cooking right here in the District. Celebrity chefs do get their share of the spotlight, but it has been the unknown or little known kitchen stars that have really caught and maintained my attention.
I first watched this roast prepared on one episode of Cook's Country (the televised aspect of Cook's Illustrated). It looked so succulent and juicy that I began keeping a pen and paper near the television so I was prepared for when it aired again (to view the show's recipes on their website you must be a paying member, I didn't trust any of the Google searches I came up with for some reason and I do not have DVR or TiVo). The next few times it aired, I only caught the very end of the episode, to my watering mouth's dismay. I was finally lucky enough (and so ridiculously excited) to have a co-worker log into her husband's Cook's Illustrated account so I could print out recipe after recipe, to my little heart's content.
If you happen to come across a small roast, especially one reduced in price or a Manager's Special, I urge you to just buy it and try this recipe. I happened to have a roast my mother was afraid she wouldn't have time to use and passed on to me (I detest waste, but also always seem to be present when another's veggies are wilting, their bananas are beyond ripe or a hunk of meat is on its way out...coincidence or its happening far too often out there, tsk tsk). This recipe takes a bit of planning, since it does requiring aging for one to three days, but then you won't have to worry about passing up a great meat special, and then not using it for a few days. You actually don't have too.
The roast I had was not from a fancy, expensive butcher, was not perfectly marbled and still had a little fat on it that I could not completely trim off. It really didn't matter though; the taste was almost exactly as the writers stated, "mellow, buttery with a nutty flavor." I found it to taste just as juicy as it looked months back on television, and even aged, was moist and fresh, especially with the herbed butter, spread on while the meat was still warm.
Started on the stove and finished in the oven, this dish is great for family dinners, a weeknight guest or even sliced thin and set out at room temperature for a gatherering. Try it!
Top Loin Roast with Garlic-Herb Butter
(adapted from Cook's Illustrated)
*1 boneless top loin roast, 5 to 51/2 lbs.
*3 Tbsp. good olive oil
*4 tsp. kosher salt
*1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
*4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
*1 Tbsp. fresh sage leaves, chopped
*1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
*1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
*1 small garlic clove, minced
Line a baking sheet with paper towels and a set flat wire rack over the baking sheet. Pat roast dry, then set on the wire rack. Refrigerate, uncovered, on lowest shelf, for one to three days to age the meat.
Remove the roast from the refrigerator and using a sharp paring knife, trim off all fat, any silver skin and all hard exterior surfaces. Rub roast with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and let stand at room temperature for one hour.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Combine salt and pepper in small bowl. Season all surfaces of roast wtih the salt-pepper mixture, pressing to make sure it adheres. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. of oil in a 12-inch, heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Set roast, fat-trimmed-side down, in skillet once oil is hot and cook and brown each side, 2-3 minutes per side. Turn roast fast-trimmed-side-up, set skillet in oven, and roast until thermometer inserted into center reads 120-125 degrees (or 130-135 degrees if medium-rare is more to your liking), about 40-45 minutes. While meat roasts, stir together butter, sage, parsley, thyme, garlic and salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
Remove roast from oven and transfer meat to cutting board, tent loosely with foil for 20 minutes. After the roast has rested, spread butter evenly over the surface of the roast. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices and serve.