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Porchetta

by . Featured in NIGELLA SUMMER

Introduction

This is a domestic take on the Italian marketplace staple of roast suckling pig, and quite my favourite thing to eat in Italy. I’ve specified pork shoulder, but really you can get any cut of pork you want: the important thing is that it’s opened out to form a roughly oblong slab or sheet, which you then smear with onion, fennel seeds, rosemary, bay leaves, ground cloves and garlic, then you roll it up so that the flavourings snake their way through the whole of the joint. Tie it with string, roast it for a good long time then, once it’s out of the oven, leave it till it’s still just warm then slice it thickly and wodge it into buns. Of course you can just carve it and eat it more sedately with knife and fork, but for the echt experience, pretty well unbeatable, you need to taste this aromatic, slow-cooked pork in sandwich form at least once. I tend to keep within the authentic register and get small, individual ciabatta rolls, but even in thick slices of white English bread it’s dreamy. But don’t use a plastic sliced loaf, which will go too pappy, and avoid baguettes: that robust crunch is not what we’re going for here.

This is a domestic take on the Italian marketplace staple of roast suckling pig, and quite my favourite thing to eat in Italy. I’ve specified pork shoulder, but really you can get any cut of pork you want: the important thing is that it’s opened out to form a roughly oblong slab or sheet, which you then smear with onion, fennel seeds, rosemary, bay leaves, ground cloves and garlic, then you roll it up so that the flavourings snake their way through the whole of the joint. Tie it with string, roast it for a good long time then, once it’s out of the oven, leave it till it’s still just warm then slice it thickly and wodge it into buns. Of course you can just carve it and eat it more sedately with knife and fork, but for the echt experience, pretty well unbeatable, you need to taste this aromatic, slow-cooked pork in sandwich form at least once. I tend to keep within the authentic register and get small, individual ciabatta rolls, but even in thick slices of white English bread it’s dreamy. But don’t use a plastic sliced loaf, which will go too pappy, and avoid baguettes: that robust crunch is not what we’re going for here.

Image of Nigella's Porchetta
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

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