If I can cook it, you can cook it And I'll travel the world to bring it back home to you.

Porchetta, slow-roasted pork shoulder with Fennel Pollen, and a visit to Robert De Niro’s Locanda Verde

        Whenever I get called for Jury Duty, I’m always delighted to use the midday break to try out the neighborhood restaurants.  Criminal court means visits to Chinatown and what’s left of Little Italy.  But Civil Court is bang up against Tribeca, ever a hotbed of places I am dying to eat.  There you’ll find Locanda Verde in the Greenwich Hotel on Greenwich St. (377 Greenwich St. www.locandaverdenyc.com Tel: 212 925-3797.)  The restaurant hasn’t yet become as famous as its owner, Robert De Niro, but if they keep serving the Porchetta sandwich that Chef Andrew Carmellini makes there, it very well may.

Chef Carmellini himself is one of my all-time favorites and I’ve followed him everywhere he’s been.  I loved what he did at the original A Voce on 26th St.   He does his own Italian food just brilliantly and this porchetta is all the proof you’ll need.   So imagine my great pleasure in finding La Cucina Italiana’s mouth-watering article on the Capital of Porchetta, Lazio, but also contained a recipe for a “New York Edition” from chef Sara Jenkins who makes 30 lbs of the stuff at a go at her restaurant which is actually called “Porchetta” (110 East 7th Street, New York Tel: 212 777 2151 www.porchettanyc.com).  This dish is so worth doing.  Even though it cooks for six hours.  Even though you can’t really do this with ingredients straight from the supermarket. 

You need to enlist help from a butcher and order a boneless pork shoulder with the skin on.  (Mine cost 4.99 lb.) You also cannot make this without something called Wild Fennel pollen. Fortunately, I recently joined a Facebook group called “Fennel Friday Cooking Club” which hooked me onto Pollen Ranch www.pollenranch.com which sells this magic powder.  When I say magic, I mean a mere dusting of this sweet anise flavoring adds remarkable flavor to everything it touches.  And if you enter the code Fennel Friday you get 10% off your purchase.  Their pricing is excellent. I’d scoped out Fennel Pollen before at a local cookshop and found it at $22.00.  


Not to be outdone, www.zingermans.com scandalously priced theirs at $30.00 a tin or way over what I paid for the pork itself!  I felt like a winner with Pollen Ranch’s version which is hand-picked from the flowers of the Fennel plant and USDA certified organic.  Do not skip the fennel pollen in this dish! It is worth it just to open it and take a wonderful whiff of the intense anise aroma.  And oh what it does for the pork!  I served this as a summer dinner party menu with some simple parmesan smashed potatoes and a watermelon and tomato salad.  It went over extremely well. Here is the recipe:



4 thoughts on “Porchetta, slow-roasted pork shoulder with Fennel Pollen, and a visit to Robert De Niro’s Locanda Verde”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.