I was on slab square this Saturday, picking my way through the throngs, hunting for the Monthly Farmer’s Market and a much anticipated foodie date with Porco Street Food. Was it only just a month ago that I had found out all about them via Twitter, and found out that they were selling one of my all time favourites the glorious Porchetta? The last time I got my hands on some of this was at Panozzo’s Italian Market in Chicago back in November last year. At Panozzo’s they took a dry cured pork belly wrapped around a fresh-herb marinated pork shoulder and slow roasted it overnight. The Pork Belly was cured with toasted fennel seed, toasted black pepper seed, coriander, bay leaves, kosher salt for 2 days and the pork shoulder marinated in olive oil, garlic, sage, rosemary, and orange zest also for 2 days. It is not a slow process to get such a delicious meat.
I was really intrigued, excited and very hungry to discover how Porco made their version!
It started really well when I found the Porco stand and I was able to cast my eyes on Jez carving slices of meat from a beautiful looking Porchetta roll. The belly pork on the outside was glistening and looked super crispy. The meat was being carved on a customized chopping board with the name Porco carved into the front. On the Friday my Mum had headed over in an advanced Porchetta sandwich hunting mission and found out that the board had been a Father’s Day gift. In the picture above you can see sample of the two sandwiches on offer and you can also see my sandwich in mid preparation alongside.
I had the Porchetta Sandwich with Rocket and Caramalised onions for £4.50 and it was pretty amazing. The meat and filling were sandwiched between two halves of a ciabatta roll (lightly toasted to order) which was just about the perfect holder for the job. The pork was moist and juicy, I was getting citrus bursts and herb hits from each bite, it was almost as if I had a lemony sage and thyme stuffing from a sunday roast smeared lightly over the meat. Another great part of the sandwich is the crispy crackling which was chopped up carefully by Jez on that Porco chopping board into small crunchy bite sized pieces. That was a good move as then they sat nicely in the sandwich and added a crunch that was not going to be breaking your teeth. The peppery rocket was all that you needed salad wise and the caramalised onions were just about perfect a little bit of a sweetness to the whole affair.
I really wanted to know how they were making this Porchetta and was a little sad that I didn’t have a chance to talk to Jez on the day as they were so busy. I found out later that trade had been so good that they were all out of meat by 2.30pm. I am not surprised, if I had not already got dinner plans I would have been back for a couple more. I just had to know though so I emailed Jez via the address that they supply for private bookings to find out a little more. So over to Jez to tell us how he makes it;
“I take a whole middle – belly and loin (Free range Duroc from Woodside Farm, Wellow) and remove the spine and ribs, leaving the rib meat attached. Onto the meat side I add maldon sea salt, a toasted spice blend of fennel seeds, black pepper and a smidgen of chilli flakes. Then I sprinkle with finely grated lemon zest and finally layer generously with a paste composed of rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic and olive oil. I roll, tie and leave to cure overnight before running it through with the spit on the market square the following morning and letting the rotisserie work it’s magic.”
I am glad that he mailed that to me, as lets be honest if he had told me that in person at the stall I wouldn’t have been able to relate it in quite the same way. You can also feel the artisan producer love when he tells us that;
“In the PORCO porchetta sandwich I like to say you get pork 3 ways, lean loin, succulent belly and perfectly crispy crackling. The caramelised onions add a note of sweetness and the rocket a hint of fresh pepperiness.”
I really have to return back to Porco, not just to say hello properly and thank Jez for reuniting me with my beloved Porchetta, but also to try the other menu option of the Smoked Pulled Pork, another personal favourite delicacy when cooked perfectly. The next chance (unless you book them for a private hire event) is going to be as I understand on the 16th or 17th August when there will also be the chance to try his 12 hour hickory smoked pulled pork shoulder. Jez also tells me that he is developing his own BBQ sauce and pickles, it just gets better and better, this is music to the ears, or is it whispers to the taste buds?
Even more to tantalise those taste buds is the information that Jez dry-cures his own back bacon which he says “is very popular on the stall of a morning”, so that is a reason to get out of bed and over to the market a bit earlier next time. Other news of note is that he “has recently started a company with three associates called Salt Pig Charcuterie, and they plan to be selling their own Italian Salumi – Pancetta, lardo, salami, prosciutto, coppa, gianciale and more.”
If you want to get your hands on some of this fantastic produce then track down Porco StreetFood at the Nottingham Farmers Market in the Old Market Square usually held on the third Friday and Saturday of the month (so the next should be about the 17th August). If you are travelling to the market by Tram you can get off at the Old Market Square stop or walk down into the square from the Royal Centre or Lace Market Stops
Thanks to Jez for providing some great info about his products and future plans! A fair bit of the post above belongs to you mate 🙂