This is the derivative of the Italian classic, arrosto di maiale al latte, or pork in milk. It’s delicious hot with its own sauce, or cold the next day in sandwiches or salads. The latter was in fact a great winner for us – seriously shortened (condensed) sauce became a spreading matter, and thinly sliced cold loin a serious protein layer – all surprisingly elegant and delicate in taste. Very popular – even if the first day hot version of the pork in milk appeared bland and tougher than it should be.
Pork loin may come in fresh, delicate personality or cheaper, not so tender, impersonation. For this dish I strongly recommend you avoid bargain pieces – the dish is a fantastic offering, but you really want to start with the trusted supplier of the main actor.
Serves four to six.
- About 1-1.2kg bonless pork loin
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 10-12 garlic cloves, peeled
- Strips of lemon zest from 1 lemon, thinly pared with a vegetable peeler – remove any white pith
- 4-6 sage leaves, shredded or a tablespoon of dried sage
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- About 0.5 litre whole milk, warmed
- 1 small sprig rosemary
- Cut the rind from the pork, leaving a thin layer of fat.
- Score the fat and season the meat well all over, rubbing it into the surface.
- Tie the meat in a couple of places with kitchen string, so it will hold its shape, and set aside.
- Warm the oil in a large casserole over a low heat and poach the garlic cloves until they just begin to take on a light golden colour – be careful they don’t burn, or they’ll add an acrid flavour to the sauce.
- Scoop out the garlic with a slotted spoon and raise the heat under the pan to medium-high.
- Brown the pork on all sides, then set aside again.
- Take the pan off the heat and let the oil cool down quite a bit.
- Add the lemon zest, sage, thyme and bay, and sauté gently for a minute.
- Return the pork to the pan, turn it over in the seasoned oil, then pour over the milk just to cover the meat.
- Add the rosemary and bring to a simmer.
- Cook the meat at a very gentle simmer, uncovered, until cooked through and tender, turning it occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan to keep the curds that form as a result of the interaction between lemon and milk from burning. If need be, add some milk to maintain a reasonable layer of moisture at the bottom of the pot.
- This should take about one and a quarter hours, by which time much of the liquid will have evaporated – if it hasn’t, reduce the sauce while the meat is resting.
Before serving, let the pork sit for about 10 minutes before cutting into thin slices and serving with the curdy sauce spooned over the top. You may also take strain the sauce and pour a smooth whitish substance over the slices.. Both options are good!