Porchetta

We were first introduced to porchetta last year by our friend Erich.  Every weekend in the summer there is an outdoor flea market/food vendor event known as Smorgasboard.  At this event you will find numerous restaurants schilling their signature dishes right on the shores of the East River.  One of the attending restaurants is in fact named Porchetta, and their signature dish is a Porchetta Sandwich.  Normally located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan they make the trek each weekend to Williamsburg to feed the masses these delicious sandwiches.  Porchetta is a traditional Italian dish which consists of layering a pork belly with herbs spices and pork loin which is then rolled up and roasted in the oven.  Everyone makes theirs a bit differently but in the end you always end up with succulent pork.  Porchetta takes their meat and places it on a small Italian roll with a piece of the crackling (crispy skin) on top.  It is very simple but that its all that is needed.  After our first bite we were in heaven.  After our second bite we knew we had to make this.  A few days went by and we never researched any recipes.  

Then one day we stumbled onto what we consider one of the best food blogs around, www.iamafoodblog.com.  On this site you can see awesome recipes with amazing photos laid out in a unique style.  We have to admit we have a bit of food blog envy, but after we composed ourselves we noticed a Porchetta recipe.  Not only that but it was also linked to a Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives episode where Guy visited a place called Bread & Meat.  In this restaurant they only have 4 items on the menu  with one of them being a Porchetta Sandwich.  From this video ad one other recipe iamafoodblog, was able to recreate this amazing dish.   Thank to them we now had an amazing porchetta recipe and their pictures ensured that we had to give it a try.

Ingredients:

Salt Rub

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons whole rosemary toasted
  • 2 teaspoons toasted fennel seed crushed
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • zest of 1 lemon

Herb Rub

  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

Salsa Verde  

  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons toasted fennel seeds ground
  • 2 teaspoons toasted coriander ground
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes
  • salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • lemon juice from 2 lemons

Porchetta

pork tenderloin, around 3 inches in diameter, 1-2 pounds
12 inch slab of pork belly, skin lightly scored
oil
string

Porchetta Sandwhiches

2 ciabatta rolls
2 cups porchetta, still warm, thinly sliced and chopped
bit of crackling, roughly chopped
dijon mustard

Directions:

Porchetta

Combine the ingredients for the salt rub in a small bowl. Lightly sprinkle the inside of the pork belly with the salt rub (you won’t need to use all of it). Sprinkle the herb rub and place the tenderloin in the centre of the belly. Tightly roll up the belly around the tenderloin and tie together with kitchen twine. Rub the skin generously with oil and a bit more of the salt rub. Place your porchetta in a dish, cover and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

Heat the oven to 275F. Place the porchetta on a rack in a deep roasting pan. Lots of fat will be rendered out of the porchetta, so make sure your roasting pan is deep enough.  Roast on the centre rack of the oven for 4 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature is 160F. Blast the heat up to 450 and continue to roast for 35 minutes, keeping an eye on the skin. You want the crackling golden brown and crispy, not burnt.

Remove from the oven, let rest for 15-20 minutes, slice and enjoy!

Salsa Verde

Puree the salsa verde ingredients until smooth. Assemble the sandwiches by slicing the rolls lengthwise and topping with porchetta. Add a bit of crackling and a drizzle of salsa verde. Serve with dijon mustard and enjoy.

Results:

When you try a new recipe there is always the concern that it could turn out bad.  Other times you worry if the recipe will taste as good as you are hyping it up to be in your own mind.  Then to make things worse if you have already eaten an amazing version of the dish previously will inevitably compare your meal to the original.  We had all of these thoughts racing through our mind when we were making this recipe.  Fortunately all of are worries were for naught, as the Porcetta was amazing.  This roast was so juicy and flavorful thanks to all of the fat from the pork belly.  The pork belly in essence basted the pork loin as it cooked.  The fresh herbs added a great aroma to kitchen as they cooked and imparted the perfect flavor profile into the meat.  The herbs and spices that were used were perfectly paired with natural flavor of the pork. 

The outside of the porchetta was roasted pork skin which turned into a crisp crackling.  Basically a fresh pork rind that just melts in your mouth.  It added an needed amount of crunch to this dish.  As we mentioned the pork belly added a ton of fat and natural juices to this dish.  For those of you not aware pork belly is what bacon is made out of.  Once a pork belly has been cured it is then considered bacon.  Basically this porchetta was a pork loin wrapped up in bacon.  Obviously there was a ton of flavor from that alone, but the spice rub and herbs all add to the insanely good flavor of the entire dish.  Then the fresh salsa verde was the perfect compliment to finish off the dish. 

The pork was a tad bit salty by itself, but the salsa is helped to cut the flavor of the salt. The salsa was e super fresh combination of parsley and lemon juice along with the same spice in the the rub.  By using the same spices from the rub in the salsa it helps keep the same flavor profile throughout the entire dish.  All of the ingredients piled high on the fresh roll was just picture perfect.  Our first bite was filled with intense flavors and pure joy.  We had managed to make the perfect dish, it tasted better than we imagined.  We knew instantly that this dish will be a hit any where we make it or wherever we bring it.  Summer BBQs, Jets Tailgates and impromptu gatherings beware the Porchetta is now lurking.

Should or Should Not Eat:

If you gotten this far then you have seen all of the pictures and read everything we had to say about the dish.  You must then have already figured out that it is a Should Eat.  If there was anything more like a Must Should Eat than this recipe would be it.  We promise this recipe will be the hit everywhere, people will beg you for the recipe.  Tell them We Ate That.com sent you. 

Porchetta