If you didn’t already know this about me, I’m a proud supporter of swine consumption. I like pig in all of its delicious iterations, and I’ve never met a meat sweat I didn’t like. To be fair, I’m an equal opportunity carnivore, and when I walked into Little Spoon, the Selwyn Avenue breakfast and lunch eatery open since late July, I was looking for a different dish. Thanks to a chance run-in with one of my most trusted food advisors, I was swayed by the siren call of pork when she ordered the porchetta ($11).
Porchetta is a magical Italian pork roll-up or, roulade. Traditionally, porchetta was made by gutting and deboning a whole pig and layering the splayed meat canvas with its entrails and spices. It was then rolled up, tied together and slow-roasted before being sliced and served, typically as Italian street food. Today, porchetta is often made by layering skin-on pork belly with tender pork loin and spices. It is then rolled, roasted and sliced per tradition. At Little Spoon, the technique veers a little from this preparation, but not too far and with the same lipsmacking effect.
Chef Miles Payne, a soft-talking teddy bear of a chef, created a lovely porchetta sandwich with Heritage Farms pork belly (skin off) layered with a spot-on version of herbaceous chimichurri, a South American condiment made of parsley, cilantro, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Payne slow-roasts the roulade and then slices the unctuous porchetta to order before searing it off in a pan. Layered on a brioche bun is a generous slathering of creamy garlic aioli, porchetta, dripping with flavorful fat and savory juices, and a chimichurri sauce that is not afraid to bring a little heat to the party. Payne uses a jalapeno-infused olive oil to bind the cilantro and parsley of the chimichurri and then gives a hearty dousing of red pepper flakes for good measure. The result is a tangy lashing of acid and herbs that slashes through the richness of the pork and silky aioli.
For those of you looking to nix the carbs, order the porchetta on a lettuce wrap. In fact, that’s how I recommend it. The porchetta and its components shine on a verdant leaf of locally sourced butter lettuce. Post-meal, your lips will be glossed with a porky sheen and your fingers covered in saucy remnants. Pork wins again, people.
Got a favorite dish in Charlotte? Share it with me at [email protected].