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!
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Porchetta is an Italian tradition consisted of 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 its 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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