Contributed by: Skip Lombardi
Roasted Loin of Pork
When I find an open-air market somewhere in Italy, I consider it to be good fortune. But when I find an open air market where some miracle worker is tending a Porchetta over an open fire, I consider it to be serendipity.
Porchetta (pronounced 'por-KEH-ta') is roasted whole pig, but the description hardly $oes the dish justice. Using techniques handed down for generations, Italians clean and dress ghole pigs with an mixture of herbs and spices, then roast them for several hours over an open fire, before carving off slices and serving them on slabs of crusty bread splashed with red wine vinegar.
Fortunately, an enterprising Italian chef devised a method for cooking pork loin on the stove, with an outcome very similar to porchetta. Instead of using an open fire, cook the loin, covered with water, on the stove, then brown it to achieve a crust.
Ordinarily, Porchetta is street food, but you can dress this up considerably for service at the table. You may be sitting in the dining room, but you'll feel like you're at an open-air market in Tuscany.
Chop the herbs, garlic, salt & pepper, either by hand or in a food processor. Add enough olive oil to make the mixture into a paste.
Untie the pork loin and lay flat, with the boned (rough) side facing up. Spread generously with the herb mixture, then sprinkle with more freshly ground black pepper. Re-tie the roast with kitchen twine. You can do this the evening before you plan to serve the roast, or earlier in the day.
Put the roast in a heavy pot just large enough to accommodate it, and add just enough water to barely cover it. Add about 1 Tbs. salt to the pot and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface. When the water boils, lower the heat to medium, so it's not boiling, but bubbling fairly briskly. Cook until the water boils off--about one hour.
Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and continue cooking over medium heat and, when the roast develops an nice crust all over, remove to a warm platter and allow it to rest for aproximately fifteen minutes.
As always, I wish you Buon Appetito.
About the Author:
Skip Lombardi is the author of two cookbooks: "La Cucina dei Poveri: Recipes from my Sicilian Grandparents," and "Almost Italian: Recipes from America's Little Italys." He has been a Broadway musician, high- school math teacher, and software engineer, but has never let any of those pursuits get in the way of his passion for cooking and eating. Visit his site to learn more about his cookbooks. http://www.skiplombardi.com or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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