Porchetta with Dandelion Greens
This rich pork roast, stuffed with garlic and herbs, is a specialty of central Italy. Traditionally a whole pig is stuffed and slow-roasted over coals, producing the crispiest skin and tenderest, most succulent meat. Tip: You'll need to start this recipe a day ahead, since the pork marinates overnight in the fridge.
1. In the bowl of a blender or food processor, combine 1/2 cup of the olive oil with the sage, fennel fronds, thyme, rosemary, oregano, shallot, minced garlic, orange and lemon zest, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, white wine, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. Process for 45 seconds, or until the ingredients are well combined.
2. Lay the pork, skin side or fatty side down, on a cutting board, and spread the herb oil mixture all over it. Roll the pork into a tight cylinder, and then tie it in several places with butcher’s twine. Place the pork on a baking sheet, seam side down. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for up to 1 hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 500°F.
5. Rub the outside of the pork with 2 tablespoons olive oil, and then season the pork with 4 1/2 teaspoons salt and the remaining 2 teaspoons pepper. Place the pork in a medium roasting pan—the pan should be just slightly larger than the roast. Place the pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 250°F. Roast the pork, uncovered, until it registers an internal temperature of 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, 4 1/2 hours. If the skin does not seem crisp at the end of 4 1/2 hours, raise the heat to 450°F and roast for 15 to 30 minutes, until a crispy crust is formed.
6. Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest for at least 20 minutes. When ready to serve, slice the meat crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces.
7. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or just until the garlic is fragrant. Add the dandelion greens, a handful at a time, and cook until just wilted. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
8. Lay a slice of pork on each slice of toast, drizzle with some of the pan juices, and then top with a mound of dandelion greens. Serve immediately.
Note: The pork roast will yield more meat than is needed for the sandwiches, but it makes great leftovers. Store it in a resealable container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
Yield: 6 to 8 sandwiches