Porchetta, Sweet Onions, Quince Aioli and Watercress Sandwich

Porchetta, Sweet Onions, Quince Aioli and Watercress Sandwich

Porchetta, Sweet Onions, Quince Aioli and Watercress Sandwich, excerpted from The Dusty Knuckle: Seriously Good Bread, Knockout Sandwiches and Everything In Between by Max Tobias. Photography by Matt Russell.

The Dusty Knuckle: Seriously Good Bread, Knockout Sandwiches and Everything In Between

Full of practical, easy-to-follow instructions for mixing, fermenting and shaping, The Dusty Knuckle cookbook includes everything you need to know to get to grips with dough at home. From legendary Potato Sourdough to unforgettable Focaccia, there are plenty of savoury bakes to enjoy. Delicious, buttery goodness follows, starting with sweet, yeasted doughs, then moving to pastry and much more. These detailed chapters prove that there really is no better satisfaction than baking from scratch.

As well as the step-by-step baking guides, you’ll find an epic collection of recipes for Dusty Knuckle’s infamous two-hander sandwiches and moreish soups, herby salads, and citrusy sauces to enjoy on, in and with bread. Whether it’s Meatballs with Melted Cheese or indulgent Porchetta; Squash, Crispy Sage and Chilli Butter or Charred Hispi with Romesco, there’s something for everyone.

The Dusty Knuckle: Seriously Good Bread, Knockout Sandwiches and Everything In Between by Max Tobias is available at Amazon.com and Indigo.ca.

Porchetta, Sweet Onions, Quince Aioli and Watercress Sandwich

It’s hard to mess this up, but the more times you make it, the better you’ll get at rolling a large bit of meat. It’s a long process, so this is one for a Sunday afternoon.

This recipe is for half a middle cut, as a whole one is so huge, but you can scale this down to an even smaller piece of pork and reduce the cooking time accordingly. Any leftover porchetta keeps well in the fridge, wrapped in cling film (plastic wrap).

Ask the butcher (you won’t be able to buy this at a supermarket) for a middle of pork to be used for a porchetta, and this will ensure they cut it in an even slab. You can use belly if you can’t get hold of a middle.

We make our own membrillo. More likely than not you will be able to find a dad, of a mate, of a mate, of a cousin, who is posh enough to have a quince tree in their garden. Quinces are everywhere in the UK from October to December.

We often swap out the watercress for baby gem and the quince for Fennel Top Sauce and Almond Aioli (see pages 192 and 186). Try it with whichever you prefer.

Makes enough porchetta for 10

5kg (11lb) pork middle

1 tbsp salt

juice of ½ lemon

1 large white onion, peeled and cut into 5 rounds

For the paste

½ bunch of parsley, leaves picked

2 big rosemary sprigs, leaves picked

5 tsp fennel seeds

2 tbsp sea salt (35g/1¼ oz)

4 tsp black peppercorns

2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional; if you want some heat)

For the quince aioli (makes enough for leftovers)

100g (3½ oz) membrillo, or quince jam (jelly)

½ garlic clove, peeled and crushed with a pinch of salt

juice of ¼ lemon 80ml (3fl oz) olive oil

For the dressing

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil ¼ tsp sherry vinegar pinch of sugar (optional)

To assemble

1 tsp olive oil

squeeze of lemon juice

piece of focaccia (see page 61), cut in half horizontally

handful of watercress

1 tbsp Sweet Red Onions (see page 191)

freshly ground pepper

Put all the paste ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz until combined.

Roll out your pork, skin side up. Using a very sharp knife, score the skin at 2cm (¾ inch) intervals, about 5mm (1⁄4 inch) deep, depending on how thick the skin is. Turn the old girl over and score to a similar depth in a lattice pattern on the flesh. (You can ask your butcher to do this.)

Rub the paste all over the flesh, then lay the pork out with a long edge nearest to you. Starting with the loin end (the big chunky end), roll it up as tightly as you can, like you would a poster. You will find that the skin will overhang the end: mark where it overhangs, then unroll your pork and cut the overhanging chunk off. Remove the skin and discard, and put the fleshy piece back inside the pork middle so that it then gets incorporated when you re-roll it up.

Now roll it up again (the ends should now meet with no overhang). Tie around the roll at intervals with butcher’s twine to hold it together. Liberally rub the salt all over the skin, then ideally let sit on a rack, uncovered, with the opening at the bottom, in the fridge to dry the skin out – ideally overnight or for as long as possible.

When ready to cook, brush off the salt from the skin and squeeze the lemon juice over it, rubbing the liquid all over the skin. I use a dishtowel. Leave out at room temperature for 30 minutes, then transfer to a roasting tray in which it fits snugly, with the onion covering the base under the pork.

Heat your oven to 115°C/95°C fan/240°F.

Cook for 4½ hours, then increase the oven temperature to 230°C/210°C fan/445°F and cook for a final 20 minutes, so that the skin crisps up. Keep an eye on it; it is easy to take it too far. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.

For the quince aioli, put the membrillo in a blender or food processor (or you can use a whisk) along with the crushed garlic and lemon juice and blend to combine. Slowly pour in the oil so that it emulsifies. It should look like a coloured mayonnaise. Taste and season accordingly and add enough water to bring it to the desired consistency (we like it like quite loose).

Make the dressing by vigorously mixing the extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar together, and seasoning with sugar if using a cheap vinegar.

In a hot dry frying pan (skillet), toast your focaccia on the inside until just browned. Dress your watercress lightly so it doesn’t go soggy, making sure you give the dressing a good stir beforehand, and season to taste.

Cut the porchetta into slices to your desired thickness and squeeze on some lemon. You should not need to season it more.

To assemble the sandwich, pile the porchetta slices onto one half of your toasted focaccia, dollop on the aioli (we like to use a lot), then the Sweet Red Onions, and finish with the dressed watercress.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Book.

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