a very piggy holiday season.
started when the December Food & Wine
arrived with a recipe for Mario
Batali's porchetta. Generally, I am not a fan of his recipes, as I find them
very Americanized and not really authentic. But this recipe appealed, as long
as I changed out the garlic for shallots.
I made it
for a dinner party to welcome our young friend Stephanie from Venice; she has
come to Tucson to study art history at the University. We were joined by our
mutual friends Annamaria and Giuseppe, who divide their time between Tucson and
of the traditional chopped organ meats, Mario's porchetta is stuffed with a
combination of sautéed sausage, onions, and fennel, and augmented by fennel
seeds, fennel fronds, and rosemary. It is then rolled into a perfectly even
shape (hah!), and tied.
the recipe, I found it very difficult to stuff, roll and tie. When it was done
and had rested 30 minutes, I also found it hard to slice. The end result was
quite tasty, nevertheless, and we all agreed it was worth making again. I made
some notes for the next time, which included making less stuffing and making my
own pork sausage instead of using store bought (I use higher quality meat -
Clark, food columnist for the New York Times
A week or
so later, in one of her NY Times
videos, she made porchetta and and the editors
mention that her recipe is the "real deal." Well, I can assure you
that it isn't the real deal but I have to say that it sounded fantastic, and
was much simpler than Mario's.
To be the
"real deal" in the world of porchetta, one has to bone, stuff, and
roll an entire
pig, and then roast it slowly on a spit. Let's be honest: this
will never happen in my tiny kitchen.
to make Melissa's porchetta for Pauline and Alex, who were visiting from
Zurich, Switzerland. It was, indeed, incredibly simple - and the flavor was
outstanding! In fact, it tasted much more like traditional porchetta than
Markipedia found it intensely reminiscent of his first encounter with
porchetta at a rural crossroad in the Roman campagna forty years ago: a whole, stuffed pig just pulled from a free-standing, wood-fired, outdoor oven. He is delighted this
is a recipe I intend to make over and over.
recipes say they serve 8 or so... but each would easily take care of a small
army. That is the good part about them: they are perfect for holiday
entertaining... or, if you want tons of leftovers. (Which is what we are eating
this week in the form of traditional porchetta sandwiches on fresh bread crispy
from the oven...)
|Joanne and Wesley wait for their porchetta sandwiches in Arezzo.|
are into stuffing, rolling, and tying a roast (really, it is not as easy as his recipe title suggests!), give Mario's a try; the recipe
is found here
. But if you want a simple, unbelievably flavorful, porchetta-inspired
roast, I suggest you give you my slightly-adapted version of Melissa's a try.
after 18 pounds or so of pork between these two recipes, I have had my fill of
pork for a while. At least until next week.
|Mark lights the candles on the Christmas tree for the last time this season.|
adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe in the New York Times.
bone-in, pork shoulder, fat trimmed to 1/4-inch thick
chopped fennel fronds
chopped fresh rosemary
tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
shallot, finely grated
grated zest of 1 organic lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
skin and fat all over pork at 1 1/2-inch intervals, taking care not to cut down
through the meat.
In a food
processor, combine fennel fronds, rosemary, sage, shallot, lemon zest, salt,
fennel seed, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and olive oil. Pulse until it
forms a paste. Rub all over the bottom, sides and fatty top of the pork, making
sure the mixture gets into the scored sections of the top. Transfer to a large
bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
pork from refrigerator 1 to 2 hours before you want to cook it. Heat oven to
Transfer pork, fat side up, to a parchment- or foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet
and roast 35 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325°F and cook an additional 3 to
4 hours, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads
180 degrees, which will give you sliceable, tender meat. (Mine was done after
about 3 1/2 hours.)
pork to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes before serving. When slicing,
make sure everyone gets some of the cracklings.
make the best sandwiches, much like those available in food trucks at the daily
markets in Italy. Simply warm a few slices of porchetta, and put them on
freshly baked warm ciabatta - no mayo or mustard needed. They are simple and
wonderful on their own.
There are regional differences between Tuscan and Roman porchetta, as told to
me by my Markipedia. The Roman version is heavier on its use of fennel, while
the Tuscan version leans more to the rosemary side of the spectrum, though in
neither case to the exclusion of the other herb.
|A Christmas Eve visit to the Mission of San Xaviere del Bac.|
Labels: fennel, Melissa Clark, porchetta, pork butt, pork shoulder, roasted pork, rosemary, sage