• 6kg pork shoulder, boned and rolled with rind on
• Sea salt flakes
• Freshly ground pepper
• 1 tablespoon fennel pollen (or 1 tablespoon fennel seeds if you can’t find pollen)
• Fresh fennel fronds from the top of two fennel bulbs
• 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
• 10 cloves garlic
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 10 tender fennel branches
• 1 bottle dry white wine
• 2 cups water
Turn over and season the flesh with two handfuls of sea salt flakes and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper. Dot the 10 garlic cloves on the flesh, pushing them into the flesh where possible. Sprinkle all over with fennel pollen, dried chilly flakes and fennel fronds (in that order).
- The day before cooking I pat the skin dry of all moisture, then place it on a rack skin side up and put in the fridge overnight so that the skin is dry.
- Just before cooking I ensure that the skin is rubbed with olive oil and a generous amount of sea salt.
- The first 20 minutes of cooking time is done at 220° Celsius (430° Fahrenheit) which gives the skin a blast of heat at the beginning to give your crackling a head start.
Once at room temperature, drizzle the olive oil on the pork 1 tablespoon at a time and massage it into the scoring. Then, taking 2-3 generous handfuls of sea salt flakes and press it into the rind ensuring you have a visible layer of salt on the rind (as per the photos above).Ensure you have a roasting tray with a roasting rack large enough for your pork. Cut your fennel branches in half, then lay them on the roasting rack making a bed for your pork, and transfer the pork to the tray. Into the bottom of the tray pour 2 cups wine and 1 cup water.
Place in the oven and bake at 220° Celsius (430° Fahrenheit) for 20 minutes (this blast of heat at the beginning with get your crackling off to the best possible start). After 20 minutes, turn down the oven temperature to 180° Celsius (350° Fahrenheit) and roast for 40 minutes per kilogram – for the 6 kg pork shoulder it will take 4 hours – turning it around every hour or so and adding the remaining wine and water halfway through.
Remove from oven and transfer the pork to a large board. Cover with aluminium foil and rest for 30 minutes before serving. To serve, cut off the twine and remove the crackling, breaking it up into pieces. Slice the pork in large rounds and serve with the pan juices (which are incredible).