This pesto pork recipe is a great one to try on the barbecue this summer. Packed full of gorgeous Italian flavours and served up with crunchy crackling and charred veg, it makes a great meal for sharing in the sunshine with family and friends, which is exactly what Lucy, from our story, is planning for Father’s Day – although the oven’s on stand-by just in case the weather doesn’t hold up!
- Cut the string from the pork and unroll the meat. Remove the skin with a sharp knife, then cut it in half and put on a plate, scored-side up. Pat dry with kitchen paper. Crush the fennel seeds slightly with a pestle and mortar and rub over the skin. Cover with clingfilm and chill.
- Butterfly the pork by slicing it horizontally almost all the way through so you can open it out like a book. Put in a dish, add 2 tbsp oil, the vinegar, oregano, garlic, and some black pepper. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking; sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
- Preheat the oven to gas 9, 240°C, fan 220°C. Put the pork skin on a rack over a grill tray and roast for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Leave to cool then cut, or break, into shards.
- Meanwhile, light the barbecue and wait until the flames have died down and the coals are ashen (about 15-20 minutes) before adding the pork. For best results, first cook the pork in the oven while the crackling is cooling. Reduce the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C and cook for 20 minutes, then finish off on the barbecue for at least 10 minutes to pick up a lovely smoky flavour and charred colour. Alternatively, put the pork straight on the barbecue and cook for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through. If you are not using a barbecue, add the pork to the oven after you have cooked the crackling and reduce the temperature as above. Cook for 20-25 minutes then transfer to a hot griddle pan for about 4 minutes per side to chargrill. Please note that cooking times will vary. Cover with foil and leave to rest on a board while you cook the vegetables.
- Toss the courgettes, fennel slices and pepper in 2 tbsp oil. Cook them in batches for 3-4 minutes each side in a hot griddle pan, or on the barbecue, until charred. Toss with the lemon zest and chilli flakes, if using. Arrange on a platter and scatter the fennel fronds over.
- Slice the pork and serve with the pesto, charred vegetables, watercress, crackling, and lemon wedges.
If you are unsure about butterflying the pork, simply cut into 2 slices of the same thickness – this will help the pork cook quickly and evenly.
Add a splash of red wine vinegar and a generous sprinkling of oregano in your next spag bol to really bring out the flavours of the other ingredients.
For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home.