Counterfeit Porchetta? It's the Real Deal


Counterfeit Porchetta? It's the Real Deal
December 26-28, 2014
The San Juan Daily Star
Counterfeit Porchetta? It’s the Real Deal
A Porchetta Pork
Roast Recipe
n Italy, the term porchetta refers to spit-roasting
a deboned and stuffed baby pig seasoned with
fennel, garlic, rosemary and lemon. In my kitchen, the term porchetta refers to oven-roast any cut
of pork flavored with the same heady aromatics.
The Italian recipe is authentic, complicated and
greatly esteemed throughout the country. My recipe
is inauthentic, genuinely easy and greatly esteemed
in a small section of Brownstone Brooklyn.
This is the feed-a-crowd, party version of my
counterfeit porchetta. It features a bone-in pork
shoulder, which is the biggest chunk of pig one can
reliably find in any supermarket. It’s brawny, earthy, run through with flavorful fat and, best of all,
economical, which comes in handy when you need
a lot of meat in one go.
A bone-in pork shoulder is also particularly
unfussy to cook. Your aim here is tender, juicy meat
underneath a crackling amber crust that is flecked
with the garlicky green herb and fennel-scented paste. How to achieve this is a matter of some debate.
Some swear by braising the meat in liquid,
then crisping the skin. Some start out roasting low
and slow, then raise the heat at the end. Some brown
the skin in oil on the stove, then roast. All of these
methods work well. But I always return to what I
think is the simplest and most convenient: Start the
meat in a hot oven until the fat under the skin starts
to render, then turn down the heat and forget about
it all afternoon.
The exact timing will depend upon the shape
of your roast, its temperature when it went into the
oven and the type of pan you use. But don’t worry
about making sure you pull the meat from the oven
as your guests arrive. Pork shoulder roasts are forgiving. You can roast it earlier in the day, and let it sit
covered at room temperature for a couple of hours.
About 30 minutes before serving, crisp the skin in a
400-degree oven until it starts to glisten.
Then let your guests ooh and ahh before carving it. And don’t forget to save the bone for soup.
If you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers,
they can be tossed with barbecue sauce or hot sauce and made into not very authentic pulled pork
sandwiches for lunch the next day. It’s the most
appropriate thing to do with leftover fake porchetta.
Which is, after all, genuinely delicious.
Porchetta Pork Roast
This rich, crackling-coated pork roast has the all
the intense garlic, lemon and herb flavors of a classic
Italian porchetta, but is much simpler to make (case
in point: you don’t need to de-bone a whole pig).
The only potentially tricky part is scoring the skin. If
you are buying the meat from your butcher you can
have them do it for you. Or, use your sharpest knife.
It’s worth the effort for the amber-colored cracklings
it produces. The recipe feeds a crowd, so make it for
a large gathering. Or plan on leftovers, which make
excellent sandwiches for lunch the next day.
Pork Shoulder
42 ratings
• 1 (7- to 8-pound) bone-in, skin-on pork shoulder
roast, fat trimmed to 1/4-inch thickness
• ¼ cup chopped fennel fronds
• ¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
• 5 garlic cloves, grated or mashed to a paste
• Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
• 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon fennel seed
• ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Score skin and fat all over pork, taking care
not to cut down to the meat.
2. In a food processor or mortar and pestle,
combine fennel fronds, rosemary, sage, garlic, lemon zest, salt, fennel seed, chile flakes and black
pepper. Pour in oil. Pulse or mash until it forms a
paste. Rub all over pork. Transfer to a large bowl
and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 6
hours and preferably overnight.
3. Remove pork from refrigerator 1 to 2 hours
before you want to cook it. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Transfer pork to a rimmed baking sheet and roast
35 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees and
cook an additional 3 to 4 hours, until a thermometer
inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 180
degrees, which will give you sliceable, tender meat.
4. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest
15 to 30 minutes before serving. To serve, slice off
the bone and make sure everyone has some of the