Roasted Rack of Pork with Fennel and Prunes
I’m very particular about my pork and whilst my preference is Berkshire or other Heritage Breeds, if your access or pocket doesn’t allow that, buy from a Chinese Butcher and you will get female pork.
Step 1: Using a very sharp knife slice evenly down the pork skin in about 5 millimetre intervals, being careful not to cut into the meat. Stand the rack in a large baking dish and pour boiling water over the skin. This allows the score marks to open up and release fat during cooking (you may have to repeat this process if the score marks don’t open up enough). Allow the pork to dry (overnight or for about an hour).
Step 2: In the meantime prepare the fennel and prunes. Rehydrate the prunes in the Verjuice over a medium heat for 10 minutes, until the prunes have plumped up. Cook the fennel in boiling salted water with a little lemon juice in the water to prevent oxidation. Slice each fennel bulb lengthways into one centimetre slices and seal in a pan with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Using a baking dish, layer the fennel slices with lemon slices, the re-hydrated prunes and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, topping with the fennel fronds. This will be baked along side the pork rack for the final 40 minutes of roasting time.
Step 3: Once the pork rack has dried, rub a generous amount of the two salts and fennel seeds mixed together into the score marks. Drizzle with vinegar, and rub a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top. Place the rack, skin side up into an oven pre-heated to 220C. Cook for 20 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 140C. Put the fennel and prunes into the oven along side of the pork at this point. Continue to cook the pork for 40 minutes, until you reach an internal temperature of 65C, or until the juice runs clear when pierced in the thickest part of the rack (the best way to judge this is with a digital meat thermometer).
Step 4: Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest for 20 – 30 minutes. The internal temperature will rise to 68-70C. Serve with the baked fennel and prunes.
Step 5: Roast alongside the pork for 35–40 minutes.