Picnic Pork and Pesto Salad
- 1 (1 1/2-pound) boneless pork loin roast, trimmed and tied
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 tablespoons basil pesto, store bought or homemade
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 heads Boston or Bibb lettuce, torn, washed, and spun dry
- 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded, and diced
- 1 cup roasted jarred (or fresh, grilled) red bell peppers, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Season the pork with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the pork and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes.
- Brush the pork with 3 tablespoons of the pesto. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the center of the port registers 145°F on an instant read thermometer, about 30 minutes.
- Let cool completely, then remove the strings and wrap the pork in foil. Chill overnight or until cold, at least 2 hours.
- When you are ready to assemble the salad, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons pesto, the lemon juice, mayonnaise, and buttermilk in a medium bowl to make a dressing then enough to drizzle (add a little cold water if needed).
- Thinly slice the pork and spread the lettuce on a large platter. Top with sliced pork, then sprinkle with the bacon, diced avocado and roasted peppers. Drizzle the dressing over everything, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Photo by Jamie Prescott