'People love this because it's a man sandwich that ladies can eat too,' says chef and restaurant namesake Orazio D'Elia. Cooking his way from his grandmother's kitchen in Naples, to Sydney's Popolo and Icebergs restaurants, D'Elia opened Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta with Icebergs restauranteur Maurice Terzini in 2014. And the slow-cooked porchetta quickly shot to fame.
'Pork needs to be cooked at a very low temperature and for a long time to let the fat melt and make the meat moist,' says D'Elia of the four-hour cooking time for this dish. While the pork is so good it can stand alone, D'Elia encourages making a simple focaccia at home for the full focaccia con porchetta experience. 'The bread is something nice to do,' the chef says, '... and you will need something to soak up all that juice.'
Designed for two hands, the focaccia wedges filled with melting pork roll are offset with crisp lettuce for crunch. You know a dish is good when people are prepared to get messy eating it.
1 x 2kg piece boned pork belly
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
1 packed cup chopped sage, rosemary and thyme leaves
50g fennel seeds
2 tablespoons rapid-rising dry yeast
2 tablespoons caster sugar
600g 'OO' flour, plus extra
1 tablespoon salt flakes, plus extra
100ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
freshly ground black pepper
For the focaccia, combine the yeast, sugar and 300ml of warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir gently to dissolve. Slowly add the flour while mixing on low speed with the dough hook.
Dissolve the salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add to the bowl with 100ml of oil while mixing. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook and sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding extra flour if necessary.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn't form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Coat a baking tray with oil.
Once the dough has doubled, roll and stretch the dough out to an oblong about 2-3cm thick. Lay the flattened dough on the oiled tray and cover with plastic wrap. Rest until it rises again, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional).
Uncover the risen dough and dimple with your fingertips. Brush the surface with oil, sprinkle over some salt flakes and rosemary and grind over some pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes and set aside to cool.
Reduce the oven to 140°C fan-forced (160°C conventional).
Lay the pork belly, skin-side down, on a work surface. Season the meat with salt and pepper and scatter the herbs and fennel seeds over evenly. Roll the pork up, truss with cooking twine and place in a large baking dish. Rub the skin with oil and season with salt. Roast the pork for 4 hours and then rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.
To serve, cut triangle-shaped pieces of focaccia and slice through the middle to open. You can add whatever you like with the pork - fresh buffalo mozzarella or wild weeds like cime de rape sautéed with a little garlic. Da Orazio serves the pork focaccia with cos lettuce, roasted eggplant, pork juice from the pan and a wedge of lemon.
This is an extract from The Broadsheet Sydney Cookbook, which contains 80 recipes from the city’s best restaurants, cafes and bars.