From the story What’s in Season? Fennel by Barbara Kobsar
This recipe come to us from Bay Wolf Restaurant in Oakland, where monthly menus highlight the season’s prime ingredients, often following traditional uses from the regional cuisines of the Mediterranean. Michael Wild, founding owner and executive chef, confirms our accolades for fennel and dedicates a whole month to this versatile vegetable.
Bay Wolf Chef de Cuisine Louis Le Gassic used to work at a local butcher shop where he became an expert in preparing meats, such as this rib end pork roast. He recommends asking your butcher to french and butterfly the roast for you. However, when Edible East Bay asked to watch, Le Gassic had on hand a roast that had not been frenched and butterflied, so we were able to photograph the whole process.
1 ten-rib end pork roast, frenched and butterflied
10 tablespoons fennel seed, toasted and ground
Salt and pepper
1 bulb fennel, cut ⅛ inch thick
1. Le Gassic “frenches” the roast by carving the meat away from the bone ends.
2. To “butterfly,” he slices part way down the length of the roast to lay it open flat on the cutting board.
3. He grinds the toasted fennel seeds and seasons the inside of the roast with a third of the fennel seed, plus ample salt and pepper.
4. After slicing the fresh fennel, he lays out the pieces on the roast and then rolls it up.
5. He ties the roast securely, starting from the middle and working his way out on each side, in between each bone.
6. He rubs the roast with olive oil and seasons the outside with salt and pepper and the remaining fennel seeds.
7. Then he places the roast on a rack in a preheated 325-degree oven and roasts until the meat has reached an inner temperature of 145 to 150 degrees. He removes it from the oven, covers with a tent of aluminum foil, and allows it to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. To serve, he cuts the roast in between the bones straight down, removing the strings as he goes. Serves 10