A few years ago, some of my friends and I set up a food stand on Portobello Road in London. The name of our food stand was ”Bruchetta-Brothers” and we served bruschetta with tasty anti pasti, buffalo mozzarella and home-made pesto.
One of our absolute best-sellers was our ”bad-boy” sandwich with meat from a shoulder of pork that I had cooked for 12-16 hours with fennel seeds and lots of herbs. The meat was wrapped in a piece of ciabatta bread and garnished with a spoonful of salsa verde and a bit of rocket.
This sandwich turned out to be a huge success and it is still legendary in West London.
Here is a fast version of it, made with pork belly on a Morsø rotisserie. Buon appetito!
- 1 pork belly
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar
- 1 handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 1 tbsp finely chopped thyme
- 1 tbsp finely chopped sage
- 2 finely grated cloves of garlic
- Peel from an organic lemon, grated on a fine grater
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
Ask your butcher to score the pork belly skin and ”open” up the skin so that you can unfold it like a book.
Season the pork belly well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle an even layer of fennel seeds, parsley, rosemary, thyme and sage onto the meat. Grate the lemon peel across the meat and then roll up the meat. Tie it with butcher’s twine.
Attach your porchetta onto the skewer and place the rotisserie on the barbecue.
Grill the porchetta for 2 hours over low heat and then for 1 hour at medium heat.
The crackling should be nice and crisp.
If not, cook the meat at high heat for another 10-15 minutes.
- 2 handfuls of flat leaf parsley
- 1 handful of mint
- 1 handful of basil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp capers
- 7 anchovy fillets
- 1 clove of garlic
- Juice from one lemon
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Chop the herbs as finely as you can. The easiest way to do this is to chop them separately.
Crush garlic and anchovies with a bit of salt in a mortar. Add the herbs to the mortar and add olive oil until the mixture turns into a pesto texture.
Coarsely chop the capers and add them to the mortar along with red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Season to taste with lemon juice, pepper and perhaps a bit of salt.
Now it is time to prepare the sandwich. Take a piece of ciabatta bread and open it up. Place a nice slice of porchetta onto the bread along with a spoonful of salsa verde and a handful of rocket. This is as good as it gets!
I think that ciabatta is the best choice of bread because it is nice and light. You can also use other types of good-quality bread.
If you feel like baking your own authentic ciabatta, here is the recipe!
- 900 g (8 cups) strong, organic wheat flour
- 100 g (0.8 cup) tipo 00 plus extra flour for baking the breads
- 750 ml (3 cups) cold water
- 20 g (1.5 oz) yeast
- 20 g (1 tbsp) salt
Pour water, yeast and half of the flour into a bowl, and mix it all well until all the flour has hydrated.
Leave this pre-dough to rise until it starts to bubble and ”collapses” in the middle (this makes more sense when you are watching it...).
Add the rest of the dough along with salt and knead the dough in a food processor for 12-15 minutes until it turns completely smooth. Pour 3-4 tbsp olive oil on top of the dough. Place your hand underneath the dough and carefully lift it so that you can stretch it. Be careful not to rip it in half.
Let the dough rise to double size. Pour olive oil onto the dough and stretch it like you did before. Let it rise again.
Turn on the oven at 200° C (390° F).
Get out two baking trays, cover them with greaseproof paper and sprinkle tipo 00 on top. Divide the dough into four pieces of an equal size. Place two pieces on each baking tray and sprinkle flour onto the dough.
Turn the dough in the flour and stretch it so that you can shape your bread. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes and repeat these steps. The bread will grow longer each time.
After 4-5 times, the bread will be the same length as the baking tray and is now ready to be baked.
Bake it for 20 minutes, then turn the bread upside down and bake it for another 5 minutes.