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Roast pork loin with fennel and carrots

(Food styling/Tony Rosenfeld; Photo by Wenda Maeda/Globe Staff)
By Tony Rosenfeld
Globe Correspondent / December 31, 2008
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Serves 6

The thin layer of fat on top of pork loin adds flavor and juiciness to the roast. Sear it and give the vegetables a preliminary roast up to 1 hour ahead. Serve with the remaining baguette from the pate.

3 pounds boneless center-cut pork loin
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 bulb fennel, cut in 1/2-inch wedges
3 medium carrots, cut in 1/2-inch slices
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/3 cup panko
2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Sprinkle the pork generously with salt and pepper.

2. In a large skillet (cast-iron works well) over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until it is hot. Set the pork in the pan, fat side down. Cook without moving it for 4 minutes or until the bottom is nicely browned and releases easily from the pan. Turn and cook the other side for 4 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the pork to a large plate.

3. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the fennel, carrots, 1 teaspoon thyme, salt, and pepper. Toss thoroughly. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the vegetables start to brown.

4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, toss the panko, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 teaspoon thyme. Spread the mustard on the fat side of the pork, then sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture. Nestle the pork into the vegetables. Set aside in a cool place for up to 1 hour before roasting.

5. Roast the pork for 20 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loin registers 145 degrees.

6. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with the vegetables. p>

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