Can you bear more Zuni gushing? I finally got around to making the mock porchetta recipe in the book, and once again, another Zuni winner that had our eyes rolling back in their sockets and moans and groans during the first few minutes of tasting. I have no idea what true Italian porchetta tastes like, but this shortcut version was nothing to mock about. See my photos (double your pleasure!) below.
Link to the recipe online is also below. It looks pretty much like the book version, but one error is that it should read one 2.5-3 lb. boneless pork shoulder butt roast. This cut is perfect for roasting and has so much wonderful marbling and inherent flavor.
I pretty much followed the recipe, but I didn't have sage on hand so omitted. The seasonings melded into one unique herbal flavor and nothing stood out strongly. I know that some people don't care for fennel seed, but the roasting really tamed the flavor and made it hum.
What was really striking was that when I sliced into the meat, there was a deep pink ring around the edge that transitioned to the mocha-colored meat. Images of Chinese bbq pork, tandoori chicken, and smoky pork ribs danced in my head. As some of you are aware of my caramelization fetish, I hogged the crunchy sticky bits on the outside for myself. (oink oink) The interior was really delicious too. It reminded me of the glistening sliced pork that comes in a bowl of ramen (the version at Ramen Halu in San Jose to be exact). Gentle, soothing, savory compared to the craggly, bold, sweet exterior.
I made my sauce w/ a decent amount of pinot noir (instead of vermouth) and chicken broth, then finished w/ a pat of butter. Little goes a long way. I must also mention the roasted veggies that were deeply sweet, sticky from their own sugar, and engorged w/ savory pork fat goodness. Carrots and garlic in their peels were particularly divine. I'm going to def. add fennel next time though.
Go make this dish before winter has faded and you have to trim down for summer vanity. Live high on the hog, I say!