- Serves: 6
- Cook Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
- Prep Time:
- Effort: easy
For the pork
- 1 x 2 kg pork loin
- 30 g Maldon sea salt
- 300 g dried apricots, finely chopped
- 250 ml vin santo
- 100 g lardo (pork back fat), di colonnata, cut in thin slices
- 8 sage leaves
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 50 ml white wine vinegar
For the dragoncello sauce
- 3 thick slices day-old ciabatta or Tuscan bread, roughly torn
- 200 ml red wine vinegar
- 2 eggs, hard boiled
- 2 bunches tarragon, finely chopped
- 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 lemon, juice only
For the potatoes
- 300 g potatoes, preferably Cyprus, cut into 2cm dice
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 sprig of rosemary
- olive oil, for frying
For the fennel salad
- 3 bulbs fennel, finely sliced
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 200 g pecorino sardo cheese, shaved
- 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 2 gala apples, cored and finely sliced
- bunch rocket
Tips and Suggestions
Soaking dried fruits such as apricots in certain alcoholic drinks not only re-hydrates them, but will also impart different flavours to give another dimension to the taste of the dish.
The growing season for Cyprus potatoes is very short, late March to mid June, so snap them up if you see them.
If chopped too far in advance, fennel will gradually start to brown. If you want to chop it before you are ready to serve, place it in some acidulated water, then drain and dry before using.
1. For the pork: lay the pork, skin-side down, on a clean flat surface and trim off any excess fat. Open under the eye of the meat to create a pocket, then score heavily across the meat in a criss-cross pattern. Sprinkle half of the salt and some coarsely ground black pepper over it, rubbing them well into the meat with your fingers. Leave to rest for 10 minutes so the salt and pepper settle well into the meat.
2. Meanwhile, heat the apricots and 100ml of the vin santo in a saucepan until the apricots start to soften. Transfer to a food processor and blend to a purée. Spread the purée over the inside of the meat. Heat a little olive oil in a small pan, drop in the sage leaves and fry for a few seconds until crisp. Remove and drain. Lay the lardo over the apricot seasoned pork then top with the sage leaves, squeeze over the lemon juice, scatter over the zest, then drizzle with the olive oil
3. Preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Tie up the meat. You will need 8-10 pieces of string, preferably butchers string, each about 30cm long. Carefully roll the meat up widthways and tie it very tightly with string in the middle of the joint. Then tie at either end about 1cm from the edge and keep tying along the joint until you have used up all the string. The filling should be well wrapped. If any excess filling escapes from the sides, just push it back in. Oil a large roasting tin with olive oil and lay the pork in it. Drizzle the white wine vinegar all over the joint, then sprinkle the remaining salt over so it is well covered.
4. Pour the remaining 150ml of vin santo in the roasting tin to keep the meat moist. Roast for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 130C/110C fan/gas 1 and cook for a further 2 hours.
4. For the dragoncello sauce: soak the bread with the red wine vinegar in a small bowl. Grate the boiled eggs into a bowl and then add the tarragon, anchovies, garlic and lemon juice and mix together well. Drain off any leftover vinegar, then mix the bread in with the eggs. Pour in enough extra virgin olive oil to just cover the mixture. Set it aside until you are ready to serve.
5. For the potatoes: about 20 minutes before the meat is done, put the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling, salted water, then cook until just starting to turn tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain well and place them back in the pan. Rough them up a bit by shaking the pan? until they start to turn fluffy round the edges, then leave to cool a little. Heat a large frying pan with a good amount of olive oil and when hot put in the potato, garlic and rosemary and fry until nicely golden brown on all sides and soft in the middle. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
6. For the fennel salad: just before serving, toss all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl, making sure the salad is seasoned well. Serve with the sliced pork, the potatoes and the dragoncello sauce.
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