Since this is the first year I am focusing on eating seasonally, I wanted to taste all of what spring had to offer - I got some morels (first time eating those!) and cooked them with some fava beans, asparagus, caramelized fennel, and pea shoots.
You'd think the pork loin, which I got from a local producer in KY, would be the star of the plate. But I tell you what, those vegetables give it a run for its money. An awesome and beautifully harmonious dish. —VivekS
For the Pork Loin
boneless pork loin
pancetta, very thinly sliced
For the Spring Vegetables
fava beans, shelled and peeled
asparagus, sliced on the bias
morel mushrooms (larger ones cut in half, small ones left whole)
bulb fennel, thinly sliced
chives, thinly sliced
freshly chopped mint
freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut the porkloin in half crosswise. Then cut it in half lengthwise so you have 4 smaller portions. If you wanted to brine the pork loin, which would be an awesome idea, go ahead and do it now. Uncurl the pancetta and wrap it around the pork loin. Season with salt and pepper. Bring a pan with some butter over medium heat and add the pork loin to the pan. Brown the pancetta on all sides until it is crispy, about 8 minutes. Then pop in the oven with a probe thermometer and cook until the thickest part of the pork registers 140 degrees.
Meanwhile, cook your vegetables. First, melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced fennel and season with salt. Let cook until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the morel mushrooms to the pan and cook until nicely browned (if the mushrooms suck up all the moisture in the pan, add some more butter). Then add the asparagus and fava beans and cook until they are bright green. Season the entire thing with salt and pepper and taste to ensure proper seasoning.
Once the pork is done, remove it from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. To plate, spoon some of the vegetable mixture on the plate. Slice each piece of pork loin into 4-5 pieces and put over the vegetables. Garnish the plate with pea shoots and a squeeze of lemon juice.