A Heroic Feat

When I first received my October issue of Bon Appétit, I stared at the cover photo for a solid 5 minutes – somehow, I needed to make this dish. Fast forward 3 week: I’m visiting with my parents and that same issue sits on their coffee table, further enticing my culinary drive. I walked into the kitchen and was nearly floored when I saw that they had almost every ingredient needed for this dish on hand! While it was by no means a walk in the park, this Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Loin with Roasted Apples was a huge hit!
This was the first time I tackled a whole pork loin, much more stuffing one! Butterflying the pork is arguably the most challenging step in this recipe – the magazine likens the process to unrolling a carpet, which actually helped me visualize what to do pretty well. After butterflying the pork, you then get to go to town with a meat mallet to get the pork to an even thickness – for those of you harboring frustration and/or anxiety, here’s a step for you!
I took some poetic license on the filling. I knew I wanted to used dried mushrooms, but the store only had dried portobello mushrooms (instead of porcini). We also had SO many fresh apples at the house that I nixed the dried apple request and went for fresh Fuji apples. While I love kale and the earthy quality it brings, we had beautiful fresh spinach – yet another easy substitute for what I had on hand. I did include the brandy, at least 😉 Regardless of time or effort, the result is absolutely fabulous: juicy pork with a sweet & savory stuffing, all “gift-wrapped” in crispy prosciutto. Hungry yet? I served this dish with a simple salad and mashed sweet potatoes – click HERE to see how to make this elegant dish!
I originally had no idea how I would be able to pull off such an elaborate recipe – such a “courageous” risk drew my pairing to (the somewhat obvious) tone poem Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life), by Richard Strauss. Typical of a tone poem, the movements are played without pause (much like this recipe made me nervous to take one). It is considered to be one of Strauss’s finest works in utilizing the full potential of the modern orchestra, giving “flavor and depth” to every moment and part. Additionally, much the way that I am giving myself a “pat on the back” for accomplishing this meal, it is rumored that Strauss may have been referring to himself as the “hero” portrayed in the work (if only somewhat). The recording below is with Seji Ozawa conducting – enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHoRPnrG-44

Sources Cited:
“Ein Heldenleben, Op.40,” The Kennedy Center

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