Our new cookbook Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes arrived. My husband without missing his cue, immediately began thumbing through the plethora of recipes. In most instances he will give a quick summary of his thoughts on a new cookbook. There are only one or two responses “There are a lot of good recipes” or “I did not see anything interesting”. This time was a little different. He was immediately drawn to the the Mario Batali recipe for Pork Shoulder Braciole (the word is commonly pronounced
/bra’zhul/). This is a simple Italian dish that was common growing-up in my husband’s second generation Italian-American family. Braciole is prepared often using thin slices of beef, pork or chicken that are rolled with cheese and bread crumbs, then lightly fried in olive oil. The dish is traditionally served with a salad or potatoes. In my husband’s family braciole cooked along side the meatballs and sausage in their Sunday sauce.
There are so many versions of this dish. Mario Batali brings this simply prepared Italian dish to a new level, while still keeping it’s authentic Italian roots. He adds chopped salami, orange zest, Percino cheese and mint. Instead of frying, he grills the braciole to intensify the flavors.
Pork Shoulder Braciole
Recipe from Mario Batali
1-1/2 cups toasted bread crumbs
4-ounces thinly sliced salami, cut into 1/4 inch wide matchsticks
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1 bunch mint, leaves only, finely chopped
1/2-cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Grated zest of 3 oranges
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
Twelve 1/2 inch-thick slices boneless pork shoulder
( about 2-1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 oranges, cut into wedges
Combine the bread crumbs, salami, pecorino, mint, parsley, and orange zest in a large bowl and mix well. Add 1/2 cup of the olive oil and mix well with your hands or a spoon. Set aside.
Cut twenty-four 10-inch pieces of kitchen twine. Using a meat mallet, pound the pork pieces very thin. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Spread a thin layer of stuffing (about 1/3 cup) on each slice of meat. Starting from a long side, roll each one up like a jelly roll and tie with 2 pieces of the twine, making a little packet. Place on a plate and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.
Brush the rolls lightly with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the rolls over medium-high heat and cook, turning occasionally, until deeply marked with grill marks on all sides, about 15 minutes. Turn off one burner if using a gas grill, and move the rolls to the cooler part of the grill. Cover the grill and cook, turning occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 185 degrees to 190 degrees F.
Transfer the rolls to a platter and serve with orange wedges.