GINNA PARSONS: Pork loin perfect for Easter meat

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

All last week, I looked forward to the weekend when I could get out in the yard and prepare my herb bed for planting.
And then Friday night, the rain came. And it didn’t leave until Monday.
Lord knows we needed it to freshen our gardens and yards, and to knock the pollen down. I just wish it had come and gone a few days earlier in the week.
So Sunday afternoon, instead of donning knee pads and gardening gloves, I put on old sweats and house shoes and proceeded to clean off a bench in my bedroom.
The bench originally sat at the foot of our bed and was put there so we’d have a place to perch when putting on our shoes. Today, the bench sits against a wall and is piled, and I mean piled, with cooking and gardening magazines.
As I went through the magazines, tossing some and putting some back for the library, I began ripping out recipes that looked good from some old Southern Livings.
I must have been hungry because I pulled about four dozen recipes from three magazines, including this one for a Tuscan Pork Loin, which I thought might be good to prepare for Easter.
The magazine article suggested serving this with roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes.

Tuscan Pork Loin
1 (4-pound) boneless pork loin
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon dried pesto seasoning or dried Italian seasoning
12 cup loosely packed fresh spinach leaves
6 bacon slices, cooked and drained
12 (12-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
12 teaspoon pepper
Fresh spinach leaves

Slice pork lengthwise, cutting down center, to but not through other side. Open halves and cut down center of each half, cutting to but not through other sides. Open into a rectangle. Place plastic wrap over pork and pound to an even thickness with a meat mallet or rolling pin.
Spread cream cheese evenly down center of pork lengthwise. Sprinkle cream cheese evenly with dried pesto seasoning.
Arrange spinach over cream cheese and top with bacon and red peppers. Roll up pork starting with 1 long side. Secure at 2-inch intervals with kitchen string. Rub pork roll with salt, paprika and pepper. Place, seam side down, on a lightly greased rack on an aluminum foil-lined pan.
Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 155 degrees. Remove from oven. Let stand 10 minutes.
Remove string from pork; cut into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices. Serve pork slices on a bed of fresh spinach leaves.
Serves 8 to 10.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.