What the Hell is Porchetta-Style Pork

Porchetta-style pork
It doesn’t mean car, apparently.

That’s not a question. That’s what I thought when I first saw this recipe in Women’s Health magazine, so that’s what I call the recipe. And I’ll straight away that I used the wrong cut of pork but loved the marinade. I also was not a fan of the beans/lemon juice/rosemary thing, so I’m not going to post that recipe. You can follow the link and get it if you need, but consider yourself warned, OK?

1 Tbs fennel seeds

3 cloves minced garlic or 1 1/2 tsp jarred stuff

1 Tbsp rosemary

2 oranges worth of zest*

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 pork roast

salt and pepper, to taste (I always use fresh-ground pepper)

1. Preheat oven to 450º (My awesome new oven takes forever to preheat, so I set it to preheat the same time I take the pork out the of the fridge and let it come down to room temp.)

2. On a cutting board, mix the garlic, fennel, zest, and rosemary together and start chopping. The mixture will get clumpy (the magazine calls it “pasty” but they’re fancy and I am not). That’s when you should put it in a bowl and add the olive oil.
3. Marinate the pork with this. I always find it helpful to stab the pork with a knife a few times to let the marinade seep in, and this is especially helpful with the “pasty” marinade that doesn’t run down the meat in drizzles. This is almost a dry rub except, well, it’s oily.

4. After sufficient time has passed – and this is wholly and completely up to you, because I didn’t wait but five minutes and the recipe says you can let it sit for four hours (although really, you can let it sit for a few days, who the hell are you to decide, Women’s Health? You don’t know me and my pork proclivities!) – put the pork in a roasting pan and roast it for about 35 minutes, depending on your oven and whether or not you, like me, don’t insist on well-done pork.

5. Once the pork has a minimum internal temp of 155º, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. This is NOT the part where you make that godawful bean recipe. This is the part where you heat a nice can of black beans or pour yourself an indulgent glass of montepulciano d’abruzzo.

6. Eat.

Oh, and “porchetta” means – loosely translated – savory, fatty pork. This doesn’t taste fatty at all. It tastes like oranges and pepper, which I love.

*Do yourself a favor and peel and section the oranges after you zest them, then save for later. If you forget, odds are in your favor to find two green moldy lumps in your fridge next week. #PersonalExperience

Randy Wayne White & The Sunshine Plate

The Sunshine Plate
From The New York Times, this recipe sat, unused, far too long in a binder.

Randy Wayne White. I discovered this guy in my twenties, when I was starved for Florida fiction and he happily provided. A few years back, he published a cookbook, and it has (among other things) one of the best recipes for a shrimp curry you will ever taste. I’m not posting it here because I feel strongly you need to buy his Gulf Coast Cookbook and test the recipes yourself.

White lives in Pine Island, which is near Sanibel without being anything like Sanibel. I wrote a piece about the cluster of small coastal towns that exist on the island once in 2009, for Visit Florida, and I called it “The Florida Time Forgot.” I wrote about it again on my non-food (mostly) blog, Just Keep Swimming, in 2010, and in my soon-not-really-soon-to-be-a-bestseller-book about Florida, I describe Pine Island as the tomboy little sister to Sanibel’s prom queen appearance. Lots of fishermen here, so of course I wanted the shrimp recipe when I saw it in The New York Times Magazine in 2010.

Of course, I didn’t make the Yucatan Shrimp (but I will) – I actually used the pork recipe beneath it. And, me being me, I modified it, and you can find my version of the pork with pineapple salsa below.

Pineapple Salsa

1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, peeled and diced

1  jalapeño, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons ginger (I used the jarred stuff)

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon fish sauce (You can add more if you want more heat)

Juice of one lime

One pork roast, cut into 3/4″ thick slices (the salsa will top eight pork steaks)

Salt and pepper (I use kosher salt and grind the pepper)



1. Season pork with salt and pepper and sandwich pieces of mint and cilantro between them. Set aside while you…

2. Mix salsa in bowl.

3. On a quite hot grill – makes no matter to me if you use charcoal or gas; we used gas this time but will use charcoal if the mood suits us and we aren’t too hungry to wait for the flames to start to die – grill pork about  3 minutes per side.

4. Top with salsa.

5. Share and enjoy!