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Porchetta


You'll need

1 suckling pig (about 9kg), boned and left in one piece (see note) 1½ tbsp olive oil   Fennel and herb stuffing 200 gm coarse breadcrumbs from day-old bread (about ½ loaf) 60 gm (¾ cup) finely grated parmesan 125 ml (½ cup) milk, warmed 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 egg, lightly beaten 2 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle 2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary 2 tbsp olive oil 1 garlic clove, finely chopped   Iceberg and fennel salad 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced ½ iceberg lettuce, torn 1 radicchio, thinly sliced 150 gm ricotta salata (see note) Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste 2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  • 01
  • For fennel and herb stuffing, combine all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Set aside.
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 200C fan-forced (see note). Lay pork skin-side down on a large chopping board with shoulder and leg ends either side of you and belly directly in front. Trim 5cm off belly sides and discard. Remove legs and forequarters, trim skin from legs and forequarters and discard. Cut leg and forequarter meat into large flat pieces and place over butterflied pork to cover middle section with an even layer of meat. Season to taste, spoon stuffing lengthways along centre. Tuck longest sides in towards stuffing and roll away from you into a log, so that cut side is underneath. Tie at even intervals securely with kitchen string and place on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Season skin liberally with sea salt, rub with oil and roast until skin starts to crackle (25-30 minutes). Reduce oven to 180C fan-forced and cook until porchetta is just cooked through and internal temperature reaches 76C on a meat thermometer (2¼-2½ hours). Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for iceberg and fennel salad, combine all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Serve with thickly sliced porchetta.
Note Suckling pig will need to be ordered in advance. If you’re boning it yourself, factor in at least 30 minutes more prep time, otherwise ask your butcher to do it for you, leaving it in one whole piece. Ricotta salata is a firm cheese made from salted ricotta, available from Italian and select delicatessens. If your oven is not fan-forced, increase temperature according to manufacturer’s instructions.

To make this lavish dish, you’ll need to find a butcher who sells suckling pig and is also willing to bone it for you. But the wonderful thing about roasting what becomes a very large fragrant roll of sweet, delicate-flavoured pork is there is hardly any fat and the skin becomes paper-thin crackling. It’s also easy to carve and can be eaten hot, warm, cold or over the next few days in sandwiches. Having said that, this recipe can also be applied to a loin of mature pork – I recommend the shoulder and always buy from very good, preferably Italian butchers who understand that pork must be female for the best flavour.

At A Glance

  • Serves 16 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 16 people

Drink Suggestion

Nebbiolo or pinot noir such as Kiltynane Estate Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley.

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