Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Porchetta Monte San Savino with Mark the Food Hunter

Mark cooking in our kitchen in Santa Fe.

When Mark and Molly were in Santa Fe, they were eager to find out about northern New Mexican food, so I made calabacitas and red chile from Velarde.

Mark made porchetta Monte San Savino-style. (The town has a porchetta sagra (festival) each autumn, and they are striving for a denominazione for their particular style of porchetta. Molly made an apple tart, and Chris made his famous gelato to go with it.

Here's the way Mark made the porchetta, based on Aldo the butcher's method):

Porchetta Monte San Savino Style

Fennel pollen*
1 large head garlic,peeled and chopped
Rosemary, leaves removed from the stems
Olive oil
1 large pork shoulder or butt roast (4-6 pounds), butterflied, fat untrimmed
(If the pork doesn't have a nice thick layer of fat on the outside, buy enough from the butcher to tie around the roast.)
Unsmoked bacon or pancetta
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Butcher's twine

Spread the pork roast out flat with the fat side down. Salt and pepper liberally; spread with garlic herb mixture. Line the roast with the bacon or pancetta. Repeat
seasoning as on the roast. Roll up tightly and secure with twine.

Season liberally. Tie the additional fat slabs on the roast with some sprigs of rosemary. (We used sage out of the garden in the picture.) Refrigerate overnight.

Remove the pork roast from the refrigerator at least an hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the roast in a roasting pan and place in the center of the oven. Roast for 2-3 hours, or until a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees. Remove from the oven and let rest for 30 minutes. Carve with the twine still in place. Serve hot or cold on a crusty bun.

*Fennel pollen is a terrific ingredient, one of those wild plants like nettles that Italians had always picked to add flavor to their food. Order it from www.chefshop.com or substitute pounded fennel seed

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