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Salt Encrusted Pork Loin over Leeks

With thank from Jim in CT.

1 2 to 3 lb pork tenderloin
15 Leek leaves
1/4 cup grated onion
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
fresh ground pepper
4-6 stems of rosemary
6 basil leaves
3 lbs coarse salt
1 to 1 1/4 cup water
rock salt to cover

1. Start the oven and fire it until the soot cokes off the walls as if you would be making pizza. Let the fire burn to coals and add two or three additional 24" logs about 3" in diameter to keep the fire burning actively.

2. Line a shallow roasting pan with aluminum foil and lay in a bed of rock salt approximately 1/2" deep. Layer clean Leek leaves onto the salt bed. Combine the oil, onion, 2 cloves of crushed garlic and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large plastic bag. Add the roast and coat it thoroughly with the oil and spice marinade.

3. Combine coarse salt with 1 cup of water to form a thick paste. Add more water as needed to make a workable paste. Take 1 1/2 cups of this paste and form into a rectangle larger than the pork roast on the leek leaves. Layer 3 stems of rosemary and 2 cloves of garlic slivered onto the salt paste. Remove the roast from the marinade bag and place it on the salt bed. Layer remaining rosemary, basil, and slivered garlic cloves onto the pork roast. Take the remaining salt paste and spread it on the meat to seal it well. Fill the pan with rock salt to surround and cover the meat. Cover with aluminum foil.

4. Spread the fire into a U shape in the oven and slide the pan into the opening in the fire. Add wood as necessary to keep an active fire burning. Cook for 15 minutes per pound turning the pan 180 degrees halfway through the cooking time. When the cooking time is reached, check with a meat thermometer before removing from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and discard the salt crust. Makes 8 servings.

5. With an active fire in the oven, it will maintain a temperature about 700F and which will cause the salt paste to quickly create a crust that will seal in the meat's juices.

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