Chef Francesco Bernardinelli, is one of Tuscany´s best chefs. His countryside Restaurant, Osteria di Rendola and his Florence city centre venue, Beccofino not in the genre of the old school, they are both fine dining establishments focusing on the best available product.
Francesco´s re-engineering from a simple rustic country technician into an up scale culinary artist came about two decades ago when he crossed the Atlantic Pond, and worked for San Domenico´s in Manhattan. Tuscan cuisine clings to its roots, however, Francesco has been infusing new life into traditional dishes with " delizioso " results.
On our last trip over to Firenze ( Florence ), we had met Francesco at Sant Ambrogio Market, a ten minute walk from the Duomo. Here is his recipe for Roast Pork Lion enhanced with fresh herbs ...
lion of sweet spiced pork roast ...
2 pounds of boneless pork tenderlion
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. dried coriander
1/2 tsp. crushed black, green, rose and white peppercorns
1/2 cup of Extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
3 large spring onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 large carrot peeled and finely diced
1 rib celery stalk, finely diced
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar ( Italian )
1 tsp. salt to taste
1/2 tsp. black freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tblsp. butter unsalted
4 Bay Leaves
1 cup Vin Santo Tuscan semi sweet wine or Moscatel
1 sprig Fresh Rosemary, about 4 to 5 inches long with needles finely chopped
1 sprig Fresh Sage Leaf Herb finely chopped
4 cups of Homemade Beef Stock
6 slices of Baguette Italian Style Day Old Bread
a pinch of dried Thyme, Rosemary and Sage
1. have the butcher ( or yourself ) slice the pork crosswise into fillets, 1/2 inch thick and press to flatten
2. spread the slices in a large shallow clay earthenware baking dish. Crush the fennel seeds, coriander and peppercorns in a Mortar with a Pestle.
3. rub the spices into the pork: with the fennel seeds, coriander and crushed peppercorns
4. Then, drizzle 1/4 cup of the Evoo on top of the meat
5. cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the frig for 2 hours, turning once
6. preheat the broiler: remove the pork from the plastic wrap and season the pork with salt and pepper. Roll up the pork jelly roll style, creating rolls about 4 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide.
7. secure with toothpicks and heat remaining Evoo and the butter in a Dutch Oven over medium heat until butter melts
8. add the pork rolls and coat with the Evoo and butter mixture
9. then, cook pork for 5 mins. or until brown and crispy
10. transfer the pork to a platter and tent to keep warm
11. add the reserved marinated vegetables and spices plus the Bay Leaves to the Dutch Oven. Return the pork roast to the Dutch Oven, and add the Vin Santo and top with rosemary and sage sprigs
12. stir in gradually the beef stock
13. preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit, and roast the pork in a clay earthenware for 40 mins. or until the pork is fork bite tender
14. transfer pork to cutting board
15. Discard the solids of the stock, and strain the sauce into a medium saucepan and cook over medium to high heat until reduced by half
16. using a serrated knife, cut off crusts from bread and cut each slice into 2 equal pieces
17. spread out the bread chips on a baking sheet and drizzle with Evoo and bake until golden crispy about 10 mins. turning only once
18. SERVE WITH SAUCE DRIZZLED ON MEAT, A TUSCAN RED WINE AND
HOT OVEN WARM BREAD ...