The first time I saw porchetta was when I was watching a show featuring some of the best sandwiches around the world. This one restaurant in New York sold amazing meat sandwiches, focusing particularly on porchetta. They had their beautifully roasted pork sitting under a heat lamp right by the window so everyone passing by can have a look. The meat is sliced to order and piled high on toasted bread with crispy cracklings. I thought to myself, "now THAT is what you call a sandwich." From then on, every time I saw porchetta at a restaurant, I had to order it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find an amazing porchetta sandwich so I decided to make one myself. The best part? That means multiple servings all for me!
Porchetta Sandwich with Salsa Verde
- 3 lb pork shoulder skin on
- 2 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoon parsley
- 1 tablespoon rosemary
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup parsley finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground toasted fennel
- ½ teaspoon coriander ground
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- ½ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 6 ciabatta sandwich bread toasted
- Heat a nonstick saute pan over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoon fennel seeds and toast until aromatic, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool. Grind in food mill until fine.
- Finely chop 2 tablespoon parsley and 1 tablespoon rosemary. Combine with ground fennel, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
- Prepare the pork. Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut ½ inch shallow slits across the skin of the pork. Repeat on the diagonal, creating lines that crisscross. Flip the pork over and repeat on the flesh side. Spread the herb mixture on the flesh side of the pork. Tightly roll the pork with the skin facing side out. Bind the pork together with butcher's twine. Season the skin with 1 tablespoon salt evenly on all sides and refrigerate uncovered overnight, patting dry excess moisture with paper towels.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1 ½ hours. Place on roasting rack and roast in the oven for 2 hours or until internal temperature reads 145 degrees.
- Meanwhile, make the salsa verde. Finely chop the parsley and combine with toasted fennel, ground coriander, red pepper flakes, garlic, the juice and zest of 1 lemon, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Increase temperature to 450 degrees and cook an additional 15 minutes or until internal temperature reads 160 degrees and skin is crackling. You may need to rotate the pork while roasting to allow even cooking.
- Remove porchetta from the oven. Let rest for 25 minutes. Carve into thin slices.
- Assemble the sandwiches. Toast ciabatta bread. Stack with sliced porchetta, drizzle salsa verde, and top with cracklings. Serve.
**Helpful tips and comments
Porchetta is an Italian traditional dish made from fatty, boneless pork stuffed with herbs, rolled and roasted over wood. Although I had to use a different cooking technique, the preparation is the same.
Start by making the marinade for the pork. We're going to use a mixture of fresh herbs, spices, a little bit of lemon, and garlic. Just by smelling the herb mixture, you can tell it's going to be one tasty pork.
Grab a sharp knife and cut slits in the pork shoulder about 2 inches apart in a diagonal direction. Repeat going the other direction so that you end up with crisscrossed lines. Flip the pork over and score it once more. Scoring the pork helps it cook evenly while allowing the marinade really soak into the flesh. Spread the herb-garlic mixture on the flesh side of the meat. I can already sense the gloriousness that will be of this pork.
Roll the pork shoulder and tie it together with the butcher's twine. Season the skin with salt and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight uncovered. Pat the skin dry with paper towels every so often to remove any excess moisture. This will help develop the crispiest of crispy cracklings.
The next day, it is time to roast! Just as when you roast any piece of meat, let it come to room temperature for a couple of hours before roasting. Why? If you were to cook the pork straight from the fridge, the exterior would cook quicker than the inside. You want even cooking throughout to prevent the outside from burning.
Roast the pork for about 2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Crank up the heat up to 450 degrees and continue roasting until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Just looking at the porchetta as is makes my heart melt. It's delicious all on its own, but I had to take it one step further and turn this beauty into a sandwich.
Prepare the salsa verde while the pork is roasting by chopping all of the ingredients and mixing until well combined. You can also make the salsa the day before, in fact, I encourage it!
Slice up that porchetta and assemble the sandwiches with the pork, salsa verde, and cracklings. I prefer my sandwich on ciabatta because of its substance but you can easily swap out the bread for one of your choosing.
Now that is one amazing porchetta sandwich. Time to open a sandwich shop? Perhaps.
For more sandwich inspiration check out this Nashville fried fish sandwich!
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