Three and a half years ago I discovered that I shared a close due date with a classmate of mine, Penny. We weren’t close friends at the time but as the months went on, we built a quiet friendship based on our coincidence. Most fondly, I remember months of Criminal Procedure together. Penny and I sat across the aisle from 0ne another and around 6:30 or 7 p.m. she and I would reach into our computer bags for a snack (or an entire meal). We would point to our respective treats and raise an eyebrow as if to say, “Want some?” But only our glances made it across the aisle – there was no need to expose either one of us to an hour of the Socratic method. Let someone else provoke a deeper understanding of the law. The 7 o’clock hour is not a good time to digest anything other than food.
Soon after the boys were born our families started getting together for dinner. Indeed, Penny and her family were our only real “dinner guests” for the first year. To say we looked forward to seeing Penny because we were leading parallel lives is only half the story. See, Penny is an excellent cook. And if you’re lucky to be invited to her home, she’ll treat you to a thoughtful, scratch-made meal that draws inspiration from any of the many countries her family has called “home.”
I will never forget the first meal she served us: roasted rack of pork, pommes anna, seasoned english cucumbers, and poached pears with a homemade caramel sauce. That night Penny reminded us the wonders of a rack of pork. Now, we scout out the flavorful racks that are available only certain times of year. We reserve space in the freezer for them – for a special occasion or just for ourselves to savor. It is good enough for both.
The recipe posted is my husband’s – but the inspiration is all Penny who, forever, will be one of my most priceless friends.
Roast Rack of Pork
1 pork rack with four bones attached
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1 TBSP rosemary, chopped
1 tsp bay leaves, crumbled
1 tsp thyme, chopped
4 TBSP butter or olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix breadcrumbs, herbs and butter/oil in large bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Season pork lightly with salt and pepper.
- Lay fat-side up on a rack set in a large roasting pan.
- Coat pork (fat side only) evenly with breadcrumb mixture. The crust should be fairly thick.
- Roast pork at 20 minutes per pound until crust is golden and thermometer inserted into center registers 145 degrees F.
- Transfer pork to cutting board. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.