For the Pork
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large apple (Honeycrisp, Gala or Fuji) cored and coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 3-lb. boneless pork loin, butterflied
- ½ bunch Josie’s Organics dandelion greens, stalk ends trimmed (reserve the other half of the bunch for the pistou)
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ cup white wine or water
- Kitchen twine
For the Pistou
- ½ bunch Josie’s Organics dandelion greens, chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 2-3 cups)
- 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
- Pinch or two of sugar
- Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Crush fennel seeds in a spice grinder to speed things up. Omit altogether if you’re in a hurry.
- Use water for the white wine if you don’t have it on hand.
- Pear works well instead of apple.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat 2 tablespoon (half) olive oil on medium-high in a large oven-proof skillet. Add sausage and brown 5-7 minutes – use a wooden spoon to break up sausage into small pieces. Stir in onion and apple, and cook an additional 5 minutes until softened. Add 1 teaspoon (half) fennel seeds and paprika, and cook 1-2 minutes to release flavors. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside. Keep drippings in the bottom of the pan.
To make the pistou, add dandelion greens, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice to a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Blend 30-45 seconds on medium speed until it comes together and forms a smooth yellow-green sauce. Scrape the sides of the processor with a rubber spatula. Add salt, sugar and pepper. Blend again for another 15 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Lay the butterflied pork on a large cutting board and season generously with salt and pepper. Lay the dandelion greens on one side of the roast. Spoon the sausage mixture on top. Fold the other side of the roast over the sausage and greens. Secure with kitchen twine every 2 inches (it’s OK if some pieces fall out once pork is stuffed – toss into pan to add flavor while cooking). Cut off any dandelion stems sticking out of pork roast. Season all sides of roast with salt and pepper. Slather with half the pistou sauce. Sprinkle top with remaining fennel seeds.
Heat a skillet with the reserved sausage drippings over medium heat and add remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil. Using large tongs, place the roast in the hot skillet and brown on all sides. Pour wine or water into bottom of pan.
Carefully place skillet on middle rack of oven and roast for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until internal temperature hits 150° on a meat thermometer. Baste every 15 minutes with pan juices. Remove roast from oven and allow to rest 10-15 minutes.
Slice into 1-inch pieces. Transfer to a platter. Spoon remaining pistou sauce over meat.
Dress it Up
For an unexpected pop of flavor, roughly chop a bulb of fennel and cook with sausage and apple. For added sweetness and a special occasion touch, scatter apple quarters in the pan around the roast before placing in oven. For a separate meal, mix in ⅓ cup of grated parmesan to the pistou and toss into warm pasta with fresh dandelion greens.