porchétta [por'ketta] n. roasted pork with crispy skin, highly seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices, garlic, sage, rosemary and wild fennel pollen. Typical plate of the Roman cuisine. Slow cooked Italian fast food.
Porchetta is a traditional street food of Central Italy. Sold from a cart or a truck, it is a whole roast pig boned out and stuffed with the liver, heart and other entrails mixed with savory herbs then slow roasted in a wood oven. It is sliced to order and served in a sandwich as a quick treat at the market or at a fair.
In 2008 Sara Jenkins and Matt Lindemulder decided to bring this classic food of their childhood to New York City. Instead of whole pigs, they sourced whole loins with the belly and skin still attached, the same cut the mad butcher of Chianti, Dario Cecchini taught Sara to use. Slowly roasted at various levels of humidity and dry heat the pork comes out meltingly soft and juicy. The pork is kept warm and sliced and assembled to order just like in Italy. We offer up the sandwich with a little bit of everything, or pork three ways as Matt likes to say, fatty belly, crispy skin, lean loin and of course plenty of aromatics.
We source our pork from Niman ranch where the pigs are raised humanely with no growth hormones or antibiotics ever. Our commitment is to bring you our favorite street food from Italy and make it as delicious as possible.
Sara Jenkins is based in New York City, where she has developed a reputation as a fine rustic Italian chef. As Mario Batali put it, 'She's one of the few chefs in America who understands Italy and how Italians eat.' Sara is also the author, with Mindy Fox, of Olives and Oranges: Recipes and Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and Beyond, released by Houghton Mifflin in September 2008.
The daughter of a foreign correspondent and a food writer, Sara grew up all over the Mediterranean, eating her way through several cultures and learning to cook what appealed to her. She began her professional career in the kitchen with Todd English at Fig's in Boston, then went on to work as a chef in Florence and the Tuscan countryside, as well as on the Caribbean island of Nevis, before returning to the U.S.
In New York City, Jenkins became chef at I Coppi, earning that restaurant two stars from the New York Times. After similar turns at Il Buco, Patio Dining and 50 Carmine, she began work on her own cookbook, Olives & Oranges published by Houghton & Mifflin in September 2008. Wherever Jenkins cooks, she creates excitement with a kitchen solidly based on the Mediterranean flavors she grew up with.
In September 2008 she and her cousin Matthew opened Porchetta, a store front in the east village, focusing on porchetta, a highly seasoned roast pork common in Italy as street food or festival food sold out of a truck as a sandwich. Porchetta has been wildly successful in New York City both with gourmands and ordinary folk alike. Porchetta was awarded the top spot in Time Out New York's "100 best things we ate in 2008" and also received a four star review from New York Magazine.
In September 2010 Sara Jenkins will open Porsena, a simple and casual restaurant down the street from Porchetta focusing on classic Italian pastas.
1) the pork itself: we use only free range, humanely raised hormone and antibiotic free pork from very happy pigs.
2) the bread: we use a crusty roll called ciabatta (means slipper in Italian) baked by New York City's Grand Daisy Bakery.
3) the seasoning: we use a heavy hand with garlic, rosemary, sage , salt and wild fennel pollen.
4) the wild fennel pollen: comes from the small dried petals and pollen of the wild fennel flower which grows everywhere in the Mediterranean. This powerful flavor is so closely connected to Porchetta in Italy that other meats using fennel pollen are said to be Porchetta style.
5) the salt: we use only sun dried Sicilian sea salt (never treated) harvested from Salt pans begun by the Phoenicians in Western Sicily over three thousand years ago. The production hasn't changed since.
6) the cut: we use lean loin and fatty belly to get the right mix of meaty and tender.
7) the cracklin': the Porchetta roasts with the skin on, cooking up into crisp flavorful shards that some customers actually ask for extra.
8) no condiments: in Italy Porchetta comes as is and we believe that our Porchetta doesn't need condiments. That said we always have hot sauce and mustard for those who just can't live without.