Pliny the Elder was a Roman admiral, a historian, a naturalist and a lover of good food. While visiting in India, he learned a secret of beekeeping; one he believed would elevate him to live in history. In 78 AD, the vineyards across the land produced grapes that were to make the best wine in all of Rome.
He combined wine, his secret honey and precious herbs from a field where a thousand Spartans were slain. By doing this, he created a marinade so powerful, so delicious that the mere scent of it wetted a hunger of Herculean proportions to anyone who passed by. Now, all Pliny needed was a heat great enough to sear the meat, heat as powerful as the marinade itself. Believing that no common cooking fire was capable he set sail for Rome. The forges of the greatest army in history would serve his needs.
As soon as his skiff was moored he sacrificed a swine to Vulcan on the docks, and submerged it into his marinade. Covered in blood, he went to the nearest bath house to pass the time for twenty-four hours and prepare for the glorious feast.
Touched by Bacchus, Pliny woke in a puddle of olive oil. His head pounded and his feet puckered. Kind hearted Attilius the gladiator helped him to the forges.
Fabricius, the sword maker, was happy to help when he was told of Pliny’s desire, he was hungry too. He cracked his whip, driving his slaves into action and the bellows bloomed. When the hairs of Pliny’s chin curled from heat, he deemed the fire ready and motioned the slaves to cook. A pleasurable aroma rose as the honey and wine caramelized, but something wasn’t right.
Fabricius, sensing Pliny’s worry, whipped the slaves to work the fires hotter, and hotter. Pliny nodded, becoming at ease, and soon the swine was ready. He sliced deep into the flesh separating the tender and sank his teeth in. The slaves feasted proclaiming it as the best they had ever eaten, but it was not to his satisfaction.
When word came of smoke from the great mountain was on the horizon. Vulcan had answered his prayers. Pliny knew what to do. Sailing south to Pompeii the fire was sure to be hot enough.
Historians think of Pliny the Elder as the organizer of the evacuation of Pompeii, but in truth, he didn’t want anyone to know of his latest culinary discovery until he had tested his theory of heat. All naturalists are in tune with nature, and Pliny knew the best hot spot was to roast his pork in the depths of Vesuvius. Lava was the missing element from his culinary perfection.
During the eruption and the lava was covering Pompeii, Pliny had a chance to use the best coals around.
2 cups honey
1 bottle red wine- half for the cook and half for the loin.
1 bunch of fresh oregano
Trim the pork loin and set the aside. Smash the fresh oregano with the flat of your knife and combine the onion, wine, and honey with the oregano. Mix it well. Marinade the pork overnight. Cook on a hot fire to sear and partially char.
Pliny the Elder died August 79 AD during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius while perfecting his recipe. His secret lost forever until now.
5 lbs. tenderloin.
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Source: Pliny The Elder’s Fire Roasted Pork