“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.
- 1 suckling pig (about 7kg; see note)
- 40 gm ground fennel seeds (1/3 cup)
- 40 gm ground Sichuan pepper, plus extra for seasoning
- 2 tbsp sea salt flakes
- 160 ml olive oil
- 3 large fennel bulbs, quartered
- 10 golden shallots
- 40 gm ginger, thinly sliced (8cm piece)
- 8 garlic cloves, crushed
- 10 star anise
- 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil (¼ cup)
- 550 gm warrigal greens, leaves picked (see note) (4 bunches)
- 3 long red chillies halved lengthways, seeds removed, thinly sliced
- 30 gm ginger, finely diced (6 cm piece)
- 200 ml Chinese black vinegar
- 100 ml light soy sauce
- 75 gm white sugar (1/3 cup)
- 250 gm cherry tomatoes, halved, seeds removed (1 punnet)
- 1Place pork uncovered in refrigerator for skin to dry (overnight). Pat dry inside and out with absorbent paper and refrigerate until required.
- 2Preheat 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).
- 3Combine 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.
- 4Meanwhile, 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.
- 5Place pork on serving platter and serve hot with roast vegetables and cherry tomato, chilli and Chinese black vinegar dressing.
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
. If they’re unavailable, substitute spinach.
This recipe is from the December 2011 issue of
Drink Suggestion: Minerally, soft-tannin pinot noir such as 2010 Sylvie Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin “Clos Saint-Jacques” Premier Cru, Burgundy, France. Drink suggestion by Charles Leong