"Can you make a Danish roast pork for lunch by 1 p.m.?" asked my boss one morning.
Just so you know, flæskesteg is a glorious roast pork dish typically served on Christmas Eve in Denmark. It was VALENTINE'S DAY. But no matter. 1 p.m., you say? It was rather busy in the studio that day, but the recipe looked so simple that I figured the deadline would certainly achievable.
Thankfully, I had ordered a 5-lb. slab of pork from Ottomanelli & Sons down in the West Village the week before. (Apparently, from the recipes I've seen, a five-pounder is the most popular serving size for this dish.) The key is that the fat and rind must be intact. After all, the crackling is the prize here!
1 5-lb. slab of pork loin, with rind and fat intact
Dried bay leaves
Sea salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 450.
2. Pat the pork dry. With a sharp knife, cut 1/2-inch incisions into the rind and halfway down the fat.
3. In a small bowl, mix 2 to 3 tablespoons of good sea salt with a teaspoon of dried cloves so that the aroma infuses. Rub the mixture all over the pork. Finish it with a light shower of freshly cracked black pepper.
4. Insert a few bay leaves here and there into the cuts. You can also stud the pork with a few more cloves, if you like.
5. Roast the pork at 450 for 30 minutes. Best part is seeing the crisping in process.
6. After 30 minutes, lower the heat to 350 degrees and add 3 cups of boiling water to the roasting pan. Cook for an additional hour or until done to your likeness.
7. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes inside the oven.
8. Serve with Dijon mustard, boiled and buttered potatoes, pickles, and beets.
My flæskesteg wasn't ready until about 2 p.m.
"It would've been so nice if it was ready by 1 p.m." said my boss with a sigh, dabbing a bite of roast pork with mustard.
"If I were hired as a private chef, it would have been!" I said, with my hands on my hips, laughing.