Porchetta with Garden Herbs & Fig Sauce

Traditional porchetta is a rotisserie-roasted deboned pig, which can be a big undertaking for the home cook. Here, we take some of the best parts of the pig and simplify it without compromising flavor. Think crackly skin, juicy bacon and lean loin loaded with Italian herbs. A rotisserie is a really fun way to cook this but roasting in an oven at 425 degrees also works well.

Servings: Over 12
Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: Over 24 hours

 

Ingredients

7 pounds pork belly, scored (A butcher can do this.)
6 pounds pork loin, about 15 inches long with fat trimmed off
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons cracked pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
Butcher’s twine, 5 yards

 

Directions

1. Twenty-four hours in advance, prepare the meat. Begin by trimming the meat. To measure, place the loin in the center of the pork belly. The belly will be wrapped fully around the loin with as  little overlap as possible  for a perfect end product. Typically, a 15-inch-long loin needs a slab of belly about 15 inches by 12 inches. (Wholefoods, Market Basket and local butchers often have something this size but it is worth calling ahead to reserve it.)
2. If the skin on the belly hasn’t been scored, do so using a sharp knife and slice about ⅛ inch deep and 1 ½ inches apart on the diagonal. Scoring the meat allows more of the fat to render while cooking and increases the flavor.
3. On a baking sheet, rub the scored skin side of the belly with baking soda. This helps wick any extra moisture and creates an impressive, mouth-watering “crackle” in the finished product.
4. Flip the pork belly over so that it is skin side down. Generously season the meat side with kosher salt and cracked pepper.
5. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, orange zest, rosemary, thyme and fennel.  This will be a paste-like consistency. Use your hands to rub this into the belly on top of the salt and pepper.
6. Generously season the loin with salt and pepper and set in the center of the belly.
7. Use the butcher’s twine to truss the belly around the loin. A second set of hands comes in handy here as you want this tied as tight as possible.
8. Leave on the baking sheet, uncovered in the refrigerator overnight until ready to cook.
9. Pull from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.
10. If cooking outside on a rotisserie, cook on high for 3 hours or until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees. If roasting inside, cook on a wire rack (similar to a Thanksgiving turkey) to prevent the meat from frying in its own fat.
11. Allow to rest 15 minutes before slicing it into 1-inch medallions.

 

Fig Sauce

Sweet and savory is a sophisticated combination on any dinner plate. Just like the Thanksgiving turkey loves cranberry sauce, our porchetta loves a heady fig sauce.  You can certainly make this from scratch with fresh figs but a jar of Dalmatia Fig Spread gives you a running start!

Servings: 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 14  minutes

 

Ingredients

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 10-ounce jar Dalmatia Fig Spread, found in the gourmet cheese section of most markets
Kosher salt and cracked Pepper
1 tablespoon sweet cream butter
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

 

Directions

1. Combine the garlic and shallot with the extra-virgin olive oil  on low heat in a small pan.
2. Add the Dalmatia Fig Spread and whisk to incorporate.
3. Add ½ teaspoon kosher salt and a pinch of cracked pepper.
4. Add the sweet cream butter.
5. Finish with 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and vinegar if necessary.
6. Serve warm over the porchetta.

 

Recipes by Anna Rossi | Photographs by Derrick Zellman

From “The Art of Gathering Year-Round

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