The first time I saw porchetta was when I was watching the Food Network and the show was featuring some of the best sandwiches around the world. This one restaurant in New York sold amazing meat sandwiches, focusing particularly on the porchetta. They had their beautifully roasted pork sitting under a heat lamp right by the window so everyone passing by can have a look. Sliced when ordered, the meat was piled onto toasted bread and topped with crispy cracklings. I thought to myself, “now THAT is what you call a sandwich.” From then on, every time I saw porchetta on a menu, I had to order it. Having some great sandwiches and some not so much, I decided to make one myself. The best part? That means multiple servings all for me!
- 3 lb pork shoulder, skin on
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 1 tbsp rosemary
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground toasted fennel
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup parsley
- 2 cloves garlic
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 6 ciabatta bread, toasted
- Prepare the pork. Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut 1/2 inch shallow slits across the skin of the pork. Repeat on the diagonal, creating lines that crisscross. Flip pork over and repeat on the flesh side.
- Heat non stick saute pan over medium-low heat. Add fennel seeds and toast until aromatic, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool. Grind in food mill until fine.
- Finely chop parsley and rosemary. Combine with ground fennel, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Spread herb mixture on flesh side of the pork. Tightly roll pork skin side out. Bind together with butcher's twine. Season skin with 1 tbsp salt evenly on all sides.
- Refrigerate pork uncovered overnight, patting dry excess moisture with paper towels.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Remove pork from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours. Place on roasting rack and roast in oven for 2 hours or until internal temperature reads 145 degrees.
- Increase temperature to 450 degrees and cook an additional 15 minutes or until internal temperature reads 160 degrees and skin is crackling. You may need to rotate the pork while roasting to allow even cooking.
- Remove porchetta from oven. Let rest for 25 minutes. Carve into thin slices.
- Prepare salsa verde by blending all ingredients in blender or food processor.
- Assemble sandwiches. Toast ciabatta bread. Stack with sliced porchetta, drizzle salsa verde and top with cracklings. Serve.
**Helpful tips and comments
Porchetta is an Italian tradition consisted of a fatty, boneless pork stuffed with herbs, rolled and roasted over wood. Although I had to use a different cooking technique, the preparation is the same.
Start by purchasing a nice slab of pork shoulder with the skin on. It’s important to leave the skin on as this will crisp up in the oven and provide you with the cracklings.
Grab a sharp knife and cut slits in the meat about 2 inches apart in a diagonal direction. Repeat going the other direction to have lines criss cross. Repeat this for both sides of the pork. Scoring the pork helps it to cook evenly since it is more exposed, while allowing the flavors of the herbs seep into the flesh.
Spread the herb garlic mixture on the flesh side of the meat. I can already sense the gloriousness that will be of this pork.
Roll the pork shoulder and tie together with butcher’s twine. Season the skin with salt and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight uncovered. Pat the skin dry with paper towels every so often to remove any excess moisture. This will help develop the crispiest of crispy cracklings.
The next day, it is time to roast! Just as when you roast any piece of meat, let it come to room temperature for a couple of hours before roasting. Why? If you were to cook the pork straight from the fridge, the exterior would cook quicker than the inside. You want even cooking throughout to prevent the outside from burning.
Just looking at the porchetta as is makes my heart melt. It’s delicious all on it own, but I had to take it one step further and turn this beauty into a sandwich.
Prepare the salsa verde and start assembling. Toasted ciabatta is a perfect choice for this sandwich as it has just the right amount of substance. Drizzle the salsa on the pork and finish with the cracklings. Now that is one amazing porchetta sandwich. Time to open a sandwich shop? Perhaps.
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