Porchetta with Grilled Carrot and Fennel Seed Salad

6

PORTIONS

Ingredients

Romesco Sauce

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup stale crusty bread (diced)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
  • 2 red capsicums (roasted, peeled,roughly chopped)
  • 4 ripe tomatos (blanched, deseeded, roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (toasted, skins removed)
  • 3 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (dulce/sweet)
  • 1 pinch hot chilli powder
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Porchetta

  • 2kg pork belly
  • 2 tsp fresh garlic
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano (Wild Greek if possible)
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage (roughly chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp toasted fennel seeds (ground)
  • 1 lemon (zest only)
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • cooking oil
  • 1 cup apple Juice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves

Grilled Carrot and Fennel Seed Salad

  • 1kg carrots (peeled, cut into quarters longwise)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves (torn)
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves (torn)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon and fennel oil (my own, or use extra-virgin olive oil)
  • pinch sugar
  • 2 Tbsps  fennel seeds (roasted and ground)
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

 

Method

My first taste of roadside porchetta in Italy is one of those food memories etched securely in my personal 'Hall of Fame' lifetime culinary experiences. The Italians are masters of the art of boning out a whole pig and roasting it rotisserie-style. The pig is flavoured traditionally with fresh and dried herbs, garlic and fennel seeds. I thought a whole pig was a little over the top so I'll show you how we make it in the restaurant using pork belly.

Romesco Sauce

Heat a large non-stick pan, cook bread in olive oil until lightly golden. Add garlic, capsicum and tomato, cook over medium heat until soft. Add almonds and sherry vinegar, heat through. Finally add the parsley then remove from the heat.

Place ingredients in a food processor or similar and pulse until almost smooth. Transfer to a bowl and season with spices, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until required.

Porchetta

Pre-heat oven to 150°C.

Using a sharp knife, remove the pork skin and trim away any really think pieces of fat. Butterfly the pork belly through the middle to open it up, like opening a book. Spread evenly with garlic, fennel seeds, herbs, lemon zest and seasoning. Now roll the belly up tightly, and tie with butchers twine to hold 'log' shape.

Place a large skillet on high heat. Take the porchetta, season with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Add a little oil to the pan then sear the rolled porchetta until golden all over.

Remove from the pan and place snugly in a suitably sized roasting dish. Add the apple juice, chicken stock and bay leaves.

Cover with foil. Place on high heat for a few minutes to get it going before placing in the oven and cooking for 2 hours. The porchetta is ready when it is soft and tender right through the meat. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the cooking liquid before refrigerating until required.

Grilled Carrot and Fennel Seed Salad

Heat your char-grill or flat top to as hot as it can get.

Place the carrots in a bowl and toss in the oil to cover. Season with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Place the carrots on the heat and leave for 5 minutes or so before turning to get some char action or caramelisation. Once you have achieved this, remove and cool before placing back in the bowl. The carrots should be wilted but still have a bit of crunch in the centre.

Now add the rest of the ingredients. Toss to combine then check the seasoning. Hold.

Cooking and Serving

Remove the string from around the porchetta and cut into steak-sized rounds.

Pre-heat your char-grill to medium-hot. Oil lightly then season the porchetta slices with a little salt and pepper. Place on the heat. Cook until golden on each side with a little char and warm all the way through.

Serve with some of the char-grilled carrot and fennel seed salad, and a spoonful of romesco sauce on the side. Eat now.