Not too long ago, I received an intriguing email from my friend and Special Fork food editor, Linda Anusasananan, the former recipe editor of Sunset magazine.
“I've been fantasizing about the porchetta sandwiches I saw last week sold from the Roli Roti truck at the Ferry Plaza,” she wrote. “The line was about two blocks long – far too long to wait, so I never got to taste them.
“That weekend I saw porchetta turning on the spit at the Burlingame farmers' market. I asked if I could buy some and the vendor said someone had special-ordered the whole roast. He said I could do the same thing and pick the porchetta up at one of the farmers’ markets.”
The email continued, “What is porchetta? Roli Roti ties together pork loin and herbs and wraps it with pork belly, then roasts it on a spit until brown and juicy. I can't wait to taste it. Want to join me? I'm dreaming of a leisurely weekend lunch. I'm thinking of picking the porchetta up just before the market closes, rushing it home and we can eat it while still hot and juicy, sandwiched in a crisp roll.”
How could we resist?
Yesterday, Linda and her husband Terry had their party and it was every bit as good as we had all imagined. The porchetta was deliciously tender, juicy and fragrant; the skin was crisp and crackling. It came with caramelized onions, arugula and rosemary salt as accompaniments.
Linda undid the strings and cut the meat in thick slices. It was impossible for guests to keep from picking up crunchy, tasty bits from the cutting board as she worked. In warmed La Brea Bakery sandwich rolls, we layered porchetta, caramelized onions, greens, a sprinkling of the rosemary salt and a drizzle of the rich jus from the pan. It was heavenly.
Guests brought salads, nibbles, desserts and wine. One of the contributions was a salad made with a recipe Linda had developed years ago for Sunset, a fabulous Crunchy Napa Cabbage Slaw.
“It’s an easy way to give a party," Linda said afterwards. “I was dying to try that sandwich and what better way to do it than to have a bunch of friends over so we could all share it?”
Whether it’s porchetta or another meat that’s a specialty at your farmers’ market, consider building a party around it.
I took Curry Chutney Deviled Eggs to the party. But I also could have taken any number of really scrumptious salads, recipes culled from previous posts by Special Fork bloggers. These would be great for a porchetta party or for any summer potluck.
- California Golden Raisin, Quinoa and Melon Salad is colorful, with fruity sweetness from melon balls and golden raisins, a savory quality from chorizo, and a burst of freshness from mint and green onions, all tossed together with quinoa. This is a Special Fork Video Friday blog.
- Mom’s Potato Salad from Lori is a summertime classic.
- Mediterranean Almond Barley Salad from David, is a hearty salad with barley, beans, veggies and toasted almonds. This is a Special Fork Video Friday blog.
- Watermelon, Cucumber and Feta Salad from Andrew is light and refreshing. Take the ingredients to the party and toss at the last minute to keep everything crisp.
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