Porchetta (roast pork with crackling)
Do not be tempted to make a smaller roast, as it is more likely to dry out. Make sure that the butcher wraps the skin (with a good layer of fat to keep the meat moist) around the roast so that the entire top and sides are covered to retain the moisture. If they give you a cut that looks like a doughnut and the flesh is 80% plus exposed, take it back. It will come out dry. Use whichever of the herbs listed below on their own or as a mixture.
2.5 kilos pork shoulder from the neck end (Boston butt), bone in
6 cloves of garlic, skins removed
2 sprigs rosemary, rinsed
6 sage leaves, rinsed (optional)
fronds from 4 fennel bulbs, removed and rinsed
¼ cup olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cut the skin of the shoulder in ½ cm apart lines diagonally across the fat without cutting down into the meat. Take 5 grams coarse sea salt and rub it into the skin, ensuring to get the salt into the cuts. Place the meat on a tray skin side up and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
Heat the oven to 150 C. Finely chop together: 7 grams coarse sea salt, the garlic, sage, fennel and rosemary. Remove from the meat from the refrigerator and slice it open from the side so that it opens like a book and the two sides are still connected (being careful of the bone). Rub the inside with the pounded mixture. Close the meat and use twine to tie shut, tying every 3 cm.
If you want extra crispy, perfect crackling, then use a hair dryer to blow the skin dry for 30 minutes. Don’t panic, even if you don’t do this step, the crackling will still be excellent. Take some more salt and massage it into the skin. Rub salt and pepper on the meat and place inside a roasting tray. Cover the meat with aluminium foil, ensuring it is tightly sealed so that the steam does not escape. Roast for 4 to 5 hours (depending on the temperature of the meat when starting and the width of the roast) or until the inside temperature is 90C (193F). The meat should be tender and be falling apart. Remove the foil. Increase the heat to 220C until the skin on top has bubbled and is crunchy, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 20 minutes before carving and serve. It is excellent cold as well as hot.
Where to Eat:
Via Volta Pinta, 2
Tel: +39 075 812649
This local trattoria is run by the Balducci family and serves excellent food. Book in advance.
Cioccolato Augusta Perugia
Casalina, 06051 Casalina Deruta PG
corso Cavour, 40
Tel: +39 0758942376