Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Pork shoulder twice

I think the shoulder is a very much ignored cut of pork, and I like to cook it from time to time in the following way:

Put a couple of teaspoons of fennel seeds in a mortar along with salt, pepper, a few cloves of garlic and a handful of parsley. Grind into a paste. Rub the paste all over the exposed surfaces of a pork shoulder (bone in) and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to as high as it will go and put the pork into the oven on a rack over a baking dish to blast it for 45 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 90c and let it roast for up to 4 hours, basting from time to time.

At the end the outside will be dark and crusty, but the inside will be wonderfully soft and moist, with the aniseed and garlic flavours permeated throughout. The shoulder is a difficult joint to slice cleanly, so it's sometimes just as handy to pull the pork away from the underlying bones. It is tender enough to do this very easily.

This way of handling shoulder of pork is based on an old Italian recipe where the prepared joint was taken to the local baker to be cooked in the cooling down oven after the day's baking had been done. I have noticed a distinct similarity between Italian cooking processes and Chinese cooking processes, (and the pulled pork is very reminiscent of crispy aromatic duck) so the following idea jumped into my head when I was wondering what to do with the leftovers:

Take any leftover pork off the bone, and shred very finely with a couple of forks. Beat 2 eggs in a bowl with some salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a wok (or a wide non-stick frying pan) and pour the egg in all at once, tilting the pan in all directions to guide the egg around the pan and make a very thin omelette. Remove from the heat just as the last bits are setting (the whole procedure should take less than a minute). Put the omelette on a plate and add a pile of the shredded pork to the middle. Add a sprinkling of chopped raw spring onions. Roll the omelette up into a tube, enclosing the pork and onion. Repeat the process for each person.

I'm going to name this dish: "Italian/Chinese crispy pork stuffed omelette"

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