Porchetta is a savory, fatty, herby, delicious slab of pig that is slow roasted…a favorite in Italy. Porchetta is also the name of a small eatery on the Lower east side of New York City, the baby of chef Sara Jenkins, where they serve this Italian classic almost exclusively, with lines of people winding down the block, waiting for their taste of pig heaven.
Traditional porchetta is made from a hog that is butchered, boned and roasted. Porchetta in New York City takes the pork loin, wraps it with the belly and skin, and slow roasts it in their special Combi oven. The result is nothing short of fantastic.
Both methods are way too big for my kitchen, so I took a page out of one of my favorite cooking magazines, La Cucina Italiana , where chef Jenkins described how a homemade version of porchetta was possible using boneless pork shoulder.
Well, I didn’t have a boneless pork shoulder, dammit! I had two beautiful pork tenderloins…not nearly as fatty, and no pork skin to wrap them with. I knew that I would have to be extremely careful not to totally dry my pork out.
10 small fresh sage leaves
3 fresh small rosemary sprigs, leaves only
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons wild fennel pollen (see below)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 pork tenderloins (2 1/2 to 3 lb total)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
Heat oven to 250 degrees.
Finely chop the sage, rosemary and garlic. (I place them in a food processor.) Place mixture in a small bowl and add fennel pollen, salt and pepper. Stir together well.
Rub the herb mixture all over the 2 tenderloin pieces. Tie the tenderloins together with butcher twine. (Usually one end of the tenderloin is fatter and the other thinner. Line them up so that one fat end is tied with one thin end, making the pork package of equal thickness.)
Set pork fat side up in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast the tenderloins, basting with the wine and pan juices every 15 minutes. Cook until pork has an internal temperature of 140 degrees.
Despite that it came out somewhat awesome, I plan on using a pork shoulder next time. Leftovers make great sandwiches!