The simplest sandwich I've ever had

In my mind, there are two ways to go about cooking. One is a very simplistic approach with the goal of highlighting the quality and taste of the ingredients you are using while the other uses ingredients as a vehicle for layers of flavour brought by many other components. In my experience of eating foods that fall into the first category, one of the best things I have been lucky enough to have was the porchetta sandwich at Er Buchetto, a small family-run outlet located in the heart of Rome.

Porchetta is a very simple dish that is very common in the Italian region of Lazio where the capital sits and consists of boneless pork belly that is seasoned with a few herbs and spices, rolled up and slowly roasted until the skin is incredibly crispy. The meat that ensues is extremely moist because of the intramuscular fat content of pork belly, which is one of the reasons why it shines on a sandwich.

A porchetta sandwhich at Er Buchetto in Rome 

Er Buchetto is one of the most respected places in Rome to get porchetta and it very much lives up to its name, which roughly translates to "hole in the wall" in the Roman dialect. In there they serve various cuts of cured meats and charcuterie but the main star of the show is their porchetta sandwich, which only consists of roast pork inside bread. Nothing more, nothing less.

With this very minimalist way of showing off their product, the plain white bread allows the sweet and roasted flavours of pork and the textural contrast between the succulent flesh and the crispy skin to shine through. You might think that this sandwich is lacking in some sort of sauce or condiment but it doesn't even need it, as the pork provides all the juiciness, crunchiness and flavour you'll need.

This humble sandwich is a lesson on how to truly showcase your work without leaving any doubt to your skill, because the more ingredients you add to a dish, the easier it is to mask certain mistakes. By selling their porchetta this simply, Er Buchetto are confident that you will be blown away by just how good they are at making this Italian classic.

So if you are ever in Rome, do yourself a favour and eat it!

Matthew Daws

Matthew Daws