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porchetta – Italian Street Food

porchetta (Italian street food)Porchetta (por-ketta) is an Italian meat dish made from pork belly, wrapped around a pork loin, and roasted for several hours.  This is my first time making this and decided to leave the pork loin out for two reasons; it was my first time and I purchased a small piece of pork belly (750g).  I’ve eaten porchetta before and absolutely love the tender, juicy meat.  And who wouldn’t?  Pork belly is where bacon comes from. It’s lovely as a roast or sliced up in a sandwich.  Either way will have your taste buds asking for more!  I’m not usually an intimidated cook, but there’s a lot at stake when you know how it’s supposed to taste and that adds a bit of pressure when you decide to make it at home.  I am happy to report that making your own porchetta isn’t that difficult.  Phew!

In Rome, where porchetta originated, street vendors selling this scrumptious meat is a common sight whereas other areas of Italy reserve this dish for special occasions.  Street vendors slice up the hot meat and make a sandwich from it (panino con porchetta) usually slathered with salsa verde.  It’s one of the best meat sandwiches I have ever tasted!  If there’s an Italian butcher in your neighborhood, ask where to enjoy one of these sandwiches.  If you’re visiting or live in NYC, Eataly in the Flatiron district used to offer this on a weekly basis – lucky people!

pork belly
3 to 4 cloves garlic
zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
3 or 4 anchovy fillets packed in oil
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
olive oil
4 carrots (use as a base for meat)

In a pestle and mortar, crush fennel seeds with one teaspoon sea salt.  Add garlic and anchovies.  Crush until a paste is formed.  Pat dry pork and lay flat.  Smear the paste all over the meat and add lemon zest.  Add a splash of olive oil and tightly roll up.  Use kitchen twine and tie up the meat.  Transfer meat to a plate and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours – do not cover the meat.  This helps to dry the skin which produces a crispier result.  When ready to roast, remove from fridge at least 1 hour to allow pork to come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 475f (250c).  Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over meat and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Place carrots on the bottom of a roasting tin and add meat on top.  The carrots become caramelized and rich in taste.  You can also use fresh fennel to place the meat on or a wire rack but the veggies are so delicious roasted this way. Roast 25 minutes then reduce heat to 350f (180c) and roast for another 40 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 145f (63c).  Remove from oven, tent with foil and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  For crispier skin, leave in refrigerator overnight.  Add 1 tablespoon of crushed fennel seeds to the skin just before placing in the oven for added taste bud jubilation.  Enjoy!

porchetta - Italian Street Food
 
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • pork belly
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 3 or 4 anchovy fillets packed in oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • 4 carrots (use as a base for meat)
Instructions
  1. In a pestle and mortar, crush fennel seeds with one teaspoon sea salt. Add garlic and anchovies. Crush until a paste is formed. Pat dry pork and lay flat. Smear the paste all over the meat and add lemon zest. Add a splash of olive oil and tightly roll up. Use kitchen twine and tie up the meat.
  2. Transfer meat to a plate and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours – do not cover the meat. This helps to dry the skin which produces a crispier result. When ready to roast, remove from fridge at least 1 hour to allow pork to come to room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 475f (250c). Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over meat and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place carrots on the bottom of a roasting tin and add meat on top. The carrots become caramelized and rich in taste. You can also use fresh fennel to place the meat on or a wire rack but the veggies are so delicious roasted this way. Roast 25 minutes then reduce heat to 350f (180c) and roast for another 40 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 145f (63c). Remove from oven, tent with foil and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
  4. The Culinary Chase’s Note: For crispier skin, leave in refrigerator overnight. Add 1 tablespoon of crushed fennel seeds to the skin just before placing in the oven for added taste bud jubilation. Enjoy!