Friday, July 17, 2009

Move Over, Bánh Mì: Make Way for Porchetta

Since I have become a professional amateur foodie, I have spent a fair amount of time talking to the sellers of interesting foods. Yesterday I was discussing my
bánh mì fetish with a cheesemonger at Saxelby's, who told me about Porchetta, at 110 East 7th Street. Needless to say, I went there today.
I discovered porchetta (skin-on roast pork) in Italy about 10 years ago, travelling with friends on the road from Siena to Cortona. A truck alongside the road had a big banner announcing "Porcetta" and we stopped to have one of the great sandwiches of all time.

Fast forward 10 years, go West from Tuscany to the East Village and voilà: Porchetta. A wonderfully seasoned sandwich of roast pork, served on a roll with some crunchy skin (cracklin'), for $9. As you can see, the place is not prepossessing, but it is worth the trip for the sandwich. It turns out that New York Magazine has discovered it, too; Porchetta is mentioned in this week's "Eat Cheap '09" issue.

I am not sure if Porchetta's porchetta is authentic, like the one we had from the truck in Italy. Here is the Wikipedia definition:

Porchetta /por'ket:a/ is a savory, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition. The body of the pig is gutted, boned, arranged carefully with layers of stuffing, meat, fat, and skin, then rolled, spitted, and roasted, traditionally over wood. Porchetta is usually heavily salted in addition to being stuffed with garlic, rosemary, fennel, or other herbs, often wild.

Authentic or not, though, it is definitely delicious.

Bobby Jay


Gary said...

Hi Bob, That sandwich looks incredible. Are those large pieces of pork fat in their?

Bobby Jay said...

Hi, Gary.

No, they're pieces of crisp skin which admittedly do have some fat underneath. I guess I forgot to point out that this is not a low calorie sandwich.