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Roman Pork

05/19/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Food and Drink

A few years ago, I read a story set in a fictionalized Rome, near the time of the fall of the Empire. At one point a feast was held, and while no recipes were given, some of the dishes were described, including pork roasted with oranges and cardamom. Here's my version of such a dish.

Petaso Romanum

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F
  2. Find a good shoulder roast of pork, with a good layer of fat on top, trimmed to about an half-inch thick. You'll need six ounces per serving, plus six ounces per sandwich that you intend to make later in the week.
  3. Butterfly it out while leaving that outer covering of fat.
  4. Arrange peeled cloves of garlic down the center, cover with cardamom seeds freshly removed from their pod, toasted and ground in a small mortar and pestle, and squeeze the juice and pulp of two Sicilian blood oranges over it all; close and tie with butcher twine.
  5. Cut the outer layer of fat into half-inch squares and sprinkle with ground cardamom and paprika; this will make a "crackling" which is very tasty, but not considered healthy. :>
  6. Place in an oiled roasting pan, and squeeze the juice and pulp of one or two blood oranges over the top, then pour a good glass of white wine - the same that you'll be serving later - over the pork, add enough vegetable stock or water to bring the liquid level about half-way up the side of the roast.
  7. Add one peeled cipollini onion for each half-pound of meat, and two twigs of fresh rosemary to the cooking liquor.
  8. Place in the oven and cook, uncovered, turning the roast over every half-hour, until a meat thermometer registers 185°F - for the last hour leave fat side up to brown, and just baste; remove from oven and allow to set for 15 minutes, then slice very thinly and serve with something like roasted yams and swiss chard.

From the leftovers, two great sandwiches can be made, both served warm.

Italian Porchetta Sandwich

At Italian street fairs, of which one can find almost every summer weekend throughout the Northeast USA somewhere, roasting pans of thinly sliced red onions and strips of roasted red peppers simmer all day long in low-temperature ovens, to be added to crusty rolls with hot or mild Italian sausages or slices of porchetta. Let's take that plan and make a great sandwich from the left over pork. By the way, my favorite street fair was held at Saint Anthony's church in Wilmington, DE held every year for one week in June, followed by the Greek and Jewish street fairs on nearby blocks - making June a most wonderful month. At least, that's how it was in the late 1970's when I lived in the area, and earlier in my life when I would visit the maternal side of the family who lived near the church, and Father Tucker whenever he was back from Monaco.

I make a soffritto using strips of roasted red peppers, thinly sliced red torpedo onions, garlic cloves that are peeled and crushed flat, and ground cardamom, by simmering in XV olive oil over a very low flame or even in a slow oven until the vegetables are almost melted.

I use Grace Baking Deli Rolls, sliced and hollowed out, brushed with XV olive oil, layering both halves of the bread with thin slices of the Roman Pork, piling the soffritto of peppers and red torpedo onions in the center. The sandwiches are placed in a 400°F oven, preferably one with a baking or pizza stone in it, and heated through for 5 minutes so that the bread is crusty and the meat is warm. Serve with a dill pickle and a glass of wine. And think of dancing in the streets of your nearest Little Italy.

Cubano Sandwich

Out of Miami, comes the Cuban Sandwich: slices of roast pork, boiled ham and cheese, piled high on delicate, crusty bread with mustard, mayonnaise, slices of dill pickle, tomato and lettuce, and lightly grilled, much like a panini. The exact bread is going to be hard to find, but use what you like, maybe a ciabata or slipper bread. Yellow mustard and white American Cheese is what you'll find on the streets of Miami, I use Sierra Nevada Stout & Stone Ground mustard and a good Monterey Jack or mild Asiago cheese. Jarlsberg cheese works well too. Visions of street festivals on warm tropical nights will dance in your head as you eat this sandwich too.

1 feedback »

1 comment


oo yummy. I gotta try some of these some time. thanks for sharing!

05/28/07 @ 09:52
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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

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