Interporc – a non-profit organisation that represents the entire Spanish white pork sector – kindly invited us to tuck into a six-course pig-tastic feast at Sabor, the Michelin star restaurant by Nieves Barragan and José Etura.
It seemed fitting that we’d be eating a lunch celebrating Spanish pork around the open kitchen of Sabor’s El Asador (which means flavour in Spanish). Nieves had created a one-off exclusive menu for us, with recipes inspired by the Galicia and Castilla regions of Spain.
We kicked off preceding’s with lardo, so thinly sliced the fat quite literally dissolved in the mouth. Cured with rosemary, they accompanied salty Cantabric anchovies and ‘picos’ bread – a type of mini breadstick. Other snacks included ‘secallona’, a dry pork sausage similar to chorizo, but instead of flavouring with paprika, this takes its flavour from black pepper and garlic and a little aniseed. Pig’s head may not sound the most appetising but once braised and deboned the meat is picked and made into terrines. That’s then dusted in flour, egg and bread crumbs and crisp fried – before you know it you’re tucking into the most spectacular of croquettes. Served on top of a little mojo verde (a coriander based sauce) with a blob of quince aioli for good measure, it came served in a delicious little jus.
A fresh heritage tomato salad with lashings of Arbequina olive oil, red onion capers and flakes of tuna sat alongside a Middle White pork chop. The domestic breed is native to the United Kingdom and such high-quality pork with well-marbled meat that it was simply grilled and served with cauliflower puree to allow its excellent flavour to really shine.
However, this was all leading up to the star of the show – the suckling pig. Fresh from the wood oven, in true Spanish style the pigs were cut into large sections using a serving plate in place of a carving knife. Served with a simple green salad, the rich, crispy skin gave way to tender white meat beneath. Each one weighs approximately 4-5kg so you can imagine, it feeds a fair few! Sabor is a truly excellent place to try this for the first time if you’ve not had it before.
A scoop of goat’s cheese ice cream with liquorice sauce rounded of our porky feast. If you want to find out more about Interporc’s Pork Lovers Tour, head to: www.interporcspain.org