- 1 small head fennel with 2-inches fronds attached, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground white pepper
- 1 (4 1/2 pound) pork rib roast, tied
- Coarse salt, to taste
- Warm Quince and Apple Compote, recipe follows
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the fennel and fennel fronds, onion, and garlic, and process to a paste. Add the thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, fennel seeds, and pepper, and pulse to combine.
With a small, sharp knife, make shallow crosshatch cuts in the skin of the pork roast. Season it all over with salt, rubbing it in well. Rub the fennel-garlic paste over the roast to cover it with a layer about 1/4-inch thick. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the roast from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature 20 minutes prior to cooking. Transfer the pork to a roasting pan and roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature in the thickest section of meat is 150 degrees. Cover roast with foil after the crust has browned. Remove the roast from the oven and cover it loosely with foil. Let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before removing the butcher twine and slicing it into thick chops. Serve with the compote.
WARM QUINCE AND APPLE COMPOTE:
- 2 large tart, firm apples, such as McIntosh, Rome or Cortland (about 3/4 pound)
- 2 large quince (about 3/4 pound)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Coarse salt, to taste
Peel, core and dice the apples and quince into 1/2-inch dice. In a 10-inch saute pan, heat the butter over low heat. Sprinkle the sugar over the melted butter. Raise the heat to medium and cook, occasionally stirring or swirling the pan, for about 3 minutes, until the sugar melts and caramelizes. Add the quince and apples, and cook, tossing occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the fruit is lightly browned and the apples have softened. The quince dice will retain their shape. Add the cider and lemon juice, and cook for about 2 minutes, until reduced but not evaporated. Season with the ginger and salt. Serve warm.