Turn pork over halfway through roasting time to allow juices to flow evenly through the meat and concentrate in the center. Choose heavy artichokes with a tight leaf formation. Avoid artichokes that look dry or have shriveled or split leaves.
MyRecipes APRIL 2005
For artichokes: 1. 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.
2. 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: 1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil. Place pork on foil; rub remaining garlic mixture into meat. Drizzle with olive oil.
4. 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.)
5. 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.
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