1suckling pig (about 7kg; see note)40 gm (1/3 cup)ground fennel seeds40 gmground Sichuan pepper, plus extra for seasoning2 tbspsea salt flakes160 mlolive oil3large fennel bulbs, quartered10golden shallots40 gm (8cm piece)ginger, thinly sliced8garlic cloves, crushed10star anise60 ml (¼ cup)extra-virgin olive oil550 gm (4 bunches)warrigal greens, leaves picked (see note)Cherry tomato, chilli and Chinese black vinegar dressing3long red chillies halved lengthways, seeds removed, thinly sliced30 gm (6 cm piece)ginger, finely diced200 mlChinese black vinegar100 mllight soy sauce75 gm (1/3 cup)white sugar250 gm (1 punnet)cherry tomatoes, halved, seeds removed
Place pork uncovered in refrigerator for skin to dry (overnight). Pat dry inside and out with absorbent paper and refrigerate until required.
Preheat oven to 220C. Combine ground fennel, Sichuan pepper, sea salt and oil in a bowl, rub all over pork, score skin, place in a large roasting pan and roast until starting to brown (30 minutes). Reduce oven to 190C and cook until lightly browned (30 minutes).
Combine fennel pieces, shallot, ginger, garlic, star anise and extra-virgin olive oil in a bowl, toss to combine, season to taste, arrange around pork and roast until pork is cooked through and tender (1-1½ hours). Remove pork from roasting pan and place on a large oven tray to rest, then place pan with fennel on stovetop over medium heat, add warrigal greens, stir gently until greens wilt (1 minute), season with Sichuan pepper and keep warm.
Meanwhile, for cherry tomato, chilli and Chinese black vinegar dressing, pound chilli and ginger to a coarse paste in a mortar and pestle, add vinegar, soy sauce and sugar and stir to combine, add tomatoes, crush lightly and stir to combine.
Place pork on serving platter and serve hot with roast vegetables and cherry tomato, chilli and Chinese black vinegar dressing.
Note A 7kg suckling pig, which will fit into most domestic ovens, will need to be ordered ahead from a good butcher. An 8kg pig can be used instead, but you’ll need to remove the head to fit it into the oven and extend the cooking time to 2½ hours. Warrigal greens are peppery, slightly bitter wild greens available from select greengrocers and ilovewarrigalgreens.com.au. If they’re unavailable, substitute spinach.
This recipe is from the December 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
“This is the dish that will really impress your guests when it arrives at the table. I love suckling pig: the meat is ever so sweet, and pork and fennel is one of the classic combinations. Warrigal greens are an under-used Australian green – they have a slightly salty taste which works wonderfully with the sweet pork.” You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.
At A Glance
Serves 8 people
At A Glance
Serves 8 people
Minerally, soft-tannin pinot noir such as 2010 Sylvie Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin “Clos Saint-Jacques” Premier Cru, Burgundy, France.