Due to, ah, technical difficulties, I am unable to post a show and tell of dinner last night, so I am restricted to a Tell. Chris and I happened to be in a domestic frame of mind yesterday, a crystal clear, blue September day, slaving over hot stoves. Perhaps because our bearselves sensed the slow approach of the lean season, even in the midst of plenty, and felt the need to prepare. Actually, I was only making dinner and it took less than an hour. He was stocking (pun, titter)up. So here follows a food-dialogue - minus one phonecall - via cyberspace (via which all good things come to pass, sooner or later...).
Saturday, 2.30pm, Chris to Marie
Okay, I know you have tons of other things on your mind more important than this [yeah, mahi mahi]. But I got a 9 pound pig shoulder with a thick layer of fat & skin on top. You told me once how to cook it - but I can't remember!!!! Of course I could look it up, but I trust your recipes! So if you get a moment...would you pass along the info??? :-) Blah, I am not looking forward to the next 2 weeks. Vivian and I will have to start shopping in the middle of the day since she brings herlunch so often.[he likes me, he really, really likes me!]
2.56pm, Marie to Chris
I Dig On Swine
This is the original recipe from the River Cafe (Thames, London, not East River, NY!) cookbook
1 shoulder pork with skin
10 garlic cloves
100 gr/4oz fennel seeds [I subs. about 2-3 branches fresh rosemary]
salt and black pepper
5-6 small dried dried chiles
juice of 5 lemons
3 tbs olive oil [this is stupid, hello, pig fat?]
Preheat oven to 450'F. Score entire swine with deep cuts about 1/4 inch wide
Smash the garlic with the fennel seeds, mix with salt, pepper and chile to taste. Rub and push this mixture all over oink. Place shoulder on rack in a roasting tin and roast for 30 mins or until skin begins to crackle up, blister and brown. Turn heat down to 250'F. Roast 8-24 hours. Baste with extra lemon juice [I find this can soften the crackle, so I don't].
It is ready when completely soft under the crisp skin. You can tell by pushing with your finger; the meat will give way or fall off the bone [Oh Lord, I'm drooling]. Add lemon juice to deglaze the pan.
Again, I use fruity but dry white wine - slighty less tart flavour, although I adore lemons.
5.18pm Chris to Marie
re. I Dig On Swine
Holy crap I'm exhausted!! I actually used a mix of fennel seeds and rosemary. But man, I know I've never really been a good mincer...my arm is limp [you should see my raised eyebrow]. Mincing those fennel seeds took the most work, but then the rosemary and then the garlic!! But the shoulder looks yummy! It's in the fridge, getting all succulent with all the new flavors surounding it. Tomorrow morning, into the oven with you! And while that's resting in the fridge, I have 5 lbs. of veal bones, 6 carrots, 6 stalks of celery, 3 white onions, salt & pepper roasting - about 1/2 hour to go for them. Then the oven is taken over by the pork rib tips I have resting in their dry rub at the moment. They're rib tips, so I'm thinking slow-cookingfor 2 hours should be good. And I have a nice honey bbq sauce thatI'm mixing together.this is the first time in a long time I've actually spent the daycooking!!!
How did your ginger-ale pig turn out??
7.06 pm Marie to Chris
Re. I Dig On Swine
The ginger ale pig morphed into mahi-mahi with anchovies and garlic, to be "potted" with clarified butter and spread on toast: and shrimp a la 'inoteca, wrapped in pancetta with a glaze of maple syrup and soy. What's wrong with us to be cooking??? It must have something to do with the cold months ahead?
All the food must be exhausted too. You have resting pigs x 2, and I have resting shrimp.
Have a lovely supper...
Sunday, 11.21am Chris to Marie
Re. I Dig On Swine
What??? I'm not following the morphing process here! How was all the food??
I made rib tips last night - very yum! Along with corn on the cob -very midwest. Got up early and started mister piggy. He's slow cooking as we speak. SO excited for the outcome!! And I have 2 containers of the most fabulous veal stock in the fridge. Best part for Max - I pulled all the leftover boiled meat and carrots out of the remains and it's in the fridge. It's serving as his food for the next 2 days - he's a happy pup! You're off tomorrow? Have a great trip!
Postscript. The gingerale pig never happened because dinner was just Constanza and me...and we couldn't eat a whole pig. But the Robiola was delicious, thank you Chris!!
Incidentally, this slow-roast pork shoulder could very well be one of the best things anyone has ever eaten. And no-fuss. Exactly the sort of thing I would like to serve in my tiny restaurant, which doesn't exist. One menu every night, that's it. Perfect soup, perfect salad, something main, like this or 40 clove garlic chickens or oxtail or bouillabaisse (...and in which case not soup to start), a fruity tart thing for dessert, cheese. Lots of happy regulars...
Or even one happy regular.