Like the majority of Americans these days, when I need information, my immediate reaction is to head straight to the internet. Whether I want to find great deals on the latest products (with Slickdeals and Techbargains being the only two non-Google sites I check on a daily basis as well as being responsible for my recently acquired All-Clad items during Macy’s Friends and Family promotion), or some recipe inspiration for dinner, the internet is the first place I turn. But apparently there’s other, older, strange smelling places to find information, and unlike the internet, they’re free (well – kinda – I mean – taxes notwithstanding).
Now I’d been well aware of the big building I passed every day on my way to and from work, but I’d always thought of it as more of a backdrop for the bus stop than anything. Maybe a place for kids to do homework and some of the elderly to surf the web and read the latest periodicals at beast. What I didn’t expect was a solid selection of kitchen friendly books including An Edge in the Kitchen, Tartine Bread, Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art, and ton’s more…I assume.
Truth be told, these I still haven’t actually stepped foot in the library myself, however Stephanie has, and she continues to bring home titles for us to flip through. This weekend, it was Tartine Bread which caught my attention, specifically, the Porchetta. Year after year, 7×7 touts the RoliRoti Porchetta Sandwich as some of the best eats in the city. Now I’ve had that sandwich, and it’s good, but not something I was so enamored with that I’d take an extended lunch break to MUNI down the the Ferry Building on a Thursday to brave a 50 person line and pay $10 for again. However, when I saw a fairly simple, single meat (the RoliRoti and Bon Appetit recipes call for loin wrapped in belly) I figured I’d give it a shot over the long weekend.
5 lbs boneless pork shoulder
1 tsp salt
1 bunch flat leaf parsley – stems removed
12 fresh sage leaves
1 tbs fresh rosemary needles
2 tbs fresh thyme, stems removes
1 cup fennel tops, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbs fennel seeds
5 cloves garlic
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups day old bread, torn
3 tbs olive oil
Butterfly (or have your butcher butterfly) pork shoulder to ~ 1″ thick slab.
Season pork with 1 teaspoon of salt.
Heat oven to 220.
Combine parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, fennel tops, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, garlic, and salt. Pulse to chop. Add bread and olive oil. Pulse to combine.
Spread stuffing over pork. Roll and secure with butchers twine. Wrap tightly in foil. Place pork in casserole dish and roast for 8 – 10 hours.
Remove roast from oven and leave foil on while it cools. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours (better if you give it 4+), to help solidify and retain shape. Remove foil and twine and slice 1″ thick slices. Heat olive oil in a pan, and add porchetta. Brown and turn to brown opposite side. Serve.
Now while the Tartine book doesn’t note this, a lot of fat will come off during the roasting process. Far more than I’d expect a ‘baking sheet’ to be able to handle. That’s why I recommend a casserole dish, and I also recommend saving the drippings as they make a fantastic gravy. I chose to refrigerate the porchetta and the drippings over night. The following day I skimmed the solidified fat from the drippings, reheated the drippings, and added 4 Tsp of cornstarch, 1 Tbs heavy creme, 2 grinds of pepper, and one Tbs of the skimmed fat back in a small sauce pan over low heat to make the gravy. I highly recommend doing the same as it adds interesting, subtle flavor building notes and creaminess that smoothly transition to the powerful, earthy porchetta flavors perfectly.