Pork Loin with Fennel Seed, Garlic, and Thyme Rub

Serves 4 

  • 2 tablespoons dried fennel seeds, crushed 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
  • 1 boneless pork loin (1 ¼ - 1 ½ pounds) 
  • flake salt 
  • Garnish: assorted edible flowers such as violas, arugula flowers, and fennel blossoms 
  1. Preheat oven to 375. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine crushed fennel seeds, garlic, thyme leaves, red pepper flakes, salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and olive oil. Pat pork loin dry with paper towels, then rub herb mixture all over the pork loin. 
  3. Heat a medium cast-iron skillet on the stovetop over medium high heat. When the pan is hot but not smoking, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, then sear all sides of the pork loin, including the ends until golden brown. When you’ve browned the pork loin on all sides, transfer skillet with pork loin into the oven to finish cooking. Cooking time is approximately 20-35 minutes depending on the thickness of the loin – pork will be ready when it reaches an internal temp of 135.  
  4. Let pork rest for 10 minutes before serving. Slice and pour remaining pan juices over the pork with a light sprinkling of flake salt and ground black pepper. Scatter edible blossoms on plate. Sautéed broccolini is a lovely accompaniment.