This fall is shaping up to be a good one for Sara Jenkins: First, her excellent new cookbook, Olives & Oranges: Recipes & Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus & Beyond, hit shelves earlier this month. And, now, she has opened Porchetta, an East Village take-out shop dedicated to the Italian sandwich made from crusty bread and crackly-skinned, slow-roasted pork (recipe below).
The final touches for both came together in the well-used kitchen of Jenkins′s Astoria apartment. With a half-dozen Mediterranean markets nearby, it′s a fitting home base for the chef: Jenkins spent much of her childhood in Tuscany, cooked professionally in Florence and established her reputation on skillfully prepared rustic, Mediterranean-inspired food at New York restaurants like 50 Carmine, Patio, Il Buco and I Coppi.
Like Porchetta, Olives & Oranges captures how Jenkins really likes to cook. Each recipe showcases just a few amazing ingredients, a few major flavors and a feeling of home. Think braised rabbit ragu, brioche bread pudding and, of course, a fragrant, slow-roasted pork shoulder. You may not get anywhere near Spain or Italy this fall, but with recipes like these, you won't need to.
Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder
Makes 6 servings
20 fresh sage leaves
3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves only
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fennel pollen (available at Whole Foods)
1½ teaspoons medium-coarse sea salt
1½ teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
One 3¾-to-4 pound boneless pork shoulder (skin on, not tied)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup dry white or red wine
1. Heat oven to 250°.
2. Finely chop the sage, thyme, rosemary and garlic together (you can do this by pulsing the herbs in a food processor or chopping them by hand). Place the mixture in a small bowl, add the fennel pollen, salt and pepper, and stir together well.
3. With a sharp knife, score the pork skin in a crosshatch diamond pattern, making ⅛-inch-deep cuts about 1 inch apart. With a paring knife, make about 10 incisions (about ½ inch deep) all over the pork and stuff it with about a third of the herb mixture. Tie the pork into a compact roast with kitchen twine, brush the olive oil over the skin and rub all over with the remaining herb mixture.
4. Set pork skin-side up in a roasting pan. Roast for 2 hours.
5. Pour wine over pork and baste with wine and accumulated juices. Continue roasting, basting once every half hour, until skin is well-browned and meat is spoon tender, 2½ to 3 hours more.
6. Remove the pork from the oven; let the meat rest for 15 minutes, then slice and serve.
Porchetta, 110 E. 7th St.; 212-777-2151 or porchettanyc.com
Recipe excerpted from Olives & Oranges by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox. Copyright 2008 by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox. Reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.