Modern pig farming has given the lowly hog a bad wrap. Raised to be leaner and healthier, most supermarket pork cuts in the U.S. are engineered tasteless and rubbery textured pieces of meat. However, if you choose the cut carefully, and cook it to just barely pink, pork can be elegant enough to serve at a dinner party. The rib roast provides a thick layer of fat that helps maintain juicy flesh. To boot, it makes for an impressive dinner centerpiece looking almost too pretty to slice. There is no comparison to eating the pork from pigs raised in pasture, where they are free to root and wallow, and forage, and industrially-farmed not really worth eating pork. Small producers are more likely to raise their pigs humanely with plenty of access to the great outdoors. Factory-farmed pig are often raised on cement -floored barns and produce a bland, pale meat. Do a bit of research, ask a local farmer questions about his or her pig raising philosophy. Chances are, the small producers are in harmony with the environment and treat there animals with respect rather than as a commodity traded for the sole purpose of increasing bank.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Trim pork rib roast so only a very thin layer of fat remains.
- Mix rosemary, salt, and pepper together and rub on both sides of roast. Heat oil in a CAST IRON SKILLIET over high heat. Add pork, lean side down first, and brown for 5 minutes or until golden crust appears. Turn over and repeat.
- Toss garlic cloves in olive oil and pile under pork. Place skillet in oven for 20 minutes.
- Lower heat to 350 degrees F and cook for 40 minutes (or until instant thermometer reads 135 degrees). Remove from oven and put foil tent over top. Temperature will rise to 140 degrees.
- Meanwhile, cut the apples in half, take out the core and seeds but leave the skin. Slice apples into 1/2 inch wedges.
- Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat and add the apples.
- Stir and flip the apples occasionally and cook until tender but not falling apart.
- When the apples are cooked, remove from heat and sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt flakes.
- Slice one rib per person and serve with pan juices, roasted garlic and apples.
In a pinch, substitute unsweetened applesauce for the sauteed apples.