Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oh, Porchetta

When I was in Italy a few summers ago I spent a great deal of time wandering through street markets.  I was not shopping for anything.  Wait, that’s not true.  I was looking at produce.  Buying a fresh San Marzano tomato in July and eating it like an apple is a pretty awesome thing to experience.  Invariably every market had a porchetta stand.  I was captivated by these.  One long counter and a couple guys in butcher’s aprons took orders and prepped simple sandwiches.  They would turn around and carve chunks of pork off a giant pig, snag a couple crisp pieces of skin, throw it all on a crispy roll, sprinkle it with rock salt and hand it to customers lined up five deep.  I fell in love with porchetta.

I looked carefully at the entire process.  Though at first I thought it was a whole pig they were carving, I soon discovered that it was more like a giant boned and stuffed pig.  In fact, it looked like a gigantic sausage with a head.  I looked into the process and found out that this is a very elaborate process and does in fact call for boning an entire pig, filling it with some seasoning, sometimes some offal, and tying it up like a sausage and roasting it for a long, long time.  I looked into duplicating it in miniature, likely with a large slab of pork belly and a pork tenderloin, but discovered that locating a large slab of pork belly is not always easy.  Maybe this Christmas I will give it a try.  In the meantime, check out Nancy Kruse’s national tour of Porchetta at In Praise of Porchetta.  She leads me to think that I need to get North Carolina or Oregon for one of those food trucks.  By the way, in my opinion, porchetta is the perfect food truck food, far better than seeing it all fancied up in a restaurant.  Throw some meat on a bun, sit in the summer sun and call it a day!
Want to see the process?  Check this out - A You Tube video
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