3 tablespoons fennel seeds, bruised with side of a knife
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
How to Make It
For artichokes: Pull off dark, tough outer green leaves of each artichoke; discard. Trim end and peel outside of stem, leaving it attached. Lay artichokes on side, and slice about 1/2 inch off the top. Halve artichokes lengthwise, and cut each in half again. Place artichoke quarters in a large pot; add water to cover. Add bay leaf, whole and minced garlic, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool.
Scrape out the small inside leaves and fuzzy center of artichoke heart with a teaspoon; discard. Place artichokes, cut side up on a sheet pan. Whisk together oil, vinegar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle vinaigrette over artichokes; toss well. Set aside.
For fennel-crusted pork: Heat oven to 400°. Combine first 4 ingredients for pork together in a small bowl; blend with fingers, or work into a rough paste with a mortar and pestle.
Pat pork loin dry; season well with additional kosher salt and pepper. Butterfly pork loin: Beginning in middle of 1 end of loin, cut with a long, sharp knife lengthwise toward center of loin, cutting to other end while being careful not to cut through other side. Use your fingers, working from both ends, to create a 1 1/2-inch-wide opening, and rub inside of loin with half of garlic mixture. Close opening, and tie tightly at 2-inch intervals with kitchen string.
Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil. Place pork on foil; rub remaining garlic mixture into meat. Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast pork at 400° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; baste with any pan juices. Turn pork over, using tongs. (Don't pierce with a fork or meat will lose juices.) Arrange artichokes around pork. Roast 25 minutes more or until an instant-read thermometer registers 155°. Remove pork from oven. Transfer to a cutting board, and tent loosely with foil. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. (Pork will continue to cook.)
Snip string off pork; discard. Cut meat into thin slices, saving any juices, and arrange on a serving platter. Surround with roasted artichokes. Serve warm.
Even though this cut of meet was very cheap, the pork was incredibly moist. For the pork, you do not need the additional kosher salt in step two. I used whole canned artichokes to save time - worked fine.