Learn everything you ever wanted to know about jerky in all its forms — meat, fish and vegetable-based (and beyond). Pick up a copy of this new collection of recipes from all over the world by some of the country’s most foremost authorities on charcuterie. These porchetta cracklins are calling your name!
Porchetta, the beloved Italian pork roast laden with garlic and herbs, is always a huge hit for dinner parties and special occasions. But its outer coating of crispy pork skin, known as cotiche croccanti in Italian, always seems to disappear from the serving platter faster than the meat. In a give-the-people-what-they-want move, we’ve devised this way of preparing just the pork skin alla porchetta. Serve the warm cracklins alongside an aperitivo or as part of an antipasto, or try crumbling them slightly and using to top cannellini beans or a simple green salad.
If you purchase whole skin-on pork legs to make jerky, you can save the leftover skin to make this recipe. Pork skin can also be purchased from most butcher shops. As it cooks in the oven, the skin gives off a fair amount of fat. Be sure to strain and refrigerate this fat to use for sautéing and frying.
- 1 pound pork skin with roughly 1/4-inch of fat
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons fennel seed, toasted and ground
- 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon flaky or coarse sea salt (such as Maldon or fleur de sel)
- Grated zest of 2 lemons
For the cracklins
Using a pair of sharp kitchen shears, cut the pork skin into strips 1 inch wide. Fit a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pork skin and boil for 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the strips to the prepared wire rack, evenly spacing the pieces and making sure they are not overlapping. Refrigerate uncovered until dry, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Preheat your oven to 375˚F.
Remove the pork skin from the refrigerator and place in a roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven and cook for about 1 hour, until the pork skin is golden brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 325˚F and cook until the skin is very crisp, about 45 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic with the fine salt to form a paste.
Remove the pan from the oven and add the garlic paste. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the pork skin is evenly coated. Return the pan to the oven and cook for 5 minutes longer.
Using tongs, carefully transfer the hot pork skin to a large bowl. Immediately add the rosemary, fennel seed, pepper, flaky or coarse salt, and lemon zest. Toss to coat.
These strips are best served hot and eaten right away, but they can be stored for up to 1 week. Allow to cool to room temperature, then transfer to a covered container that allows a bit of airflow and store in a cool, dark place. If you wish to reheat them for serving, arrange on a baking sheet and place in a 325˚F oven for about 10 minutes.