December 15, 2014

This month my VEGEDARIO ( a calendar I make in the spanish version of the blog to show the veggies in season every month) was dedicated to my lovely (and soooo italian) radicchio, aka red chicory. That’s why I would like to close the circle and put this red bitter beauty (not so loved in Spain I am afraid..) inside a sandwich inspired by my beloved country, Italy, my way of course, purists alerted!

The idea was born, once again, in my fav market in Madrid, Antón Martín! I visited the FLOWRS girls to pick up a floral arrangament to shoot for them. Just in front of their stand, three young italian guys recently opened a take-away I still hadn’t tried called La Saletta, literally a “fiaschettería*”: coffee, wines and meals. I am sure you know this feeling some specific words may produce in our mind, only with reading them: that kind of words related with our roots and childhood that make our mouth instantly watering. Well… I was taking a genuine espresso sitting at La Saletta when I casually read in their chalkboard menu they had handmade PORCHETTA for lunch and this word really made the magic in my mind:  this incredibly tasty recipe from the centre of Italy is connected all the way through with my ex-italian life: from Rome (where I am born) to the beautiful Conero beaches, where I used to spent all my summers, porchetta is a traditional dish of the italian grills & streets. It’s kind of a boneless pork piece, rolled, spitted, and roasted, traditionally over wood after preparing the stuffing with garlic, rosemary and a collection of wild herbs. It’s really inusual to find this recipe here in Spain, even in the italian restaurants here so I thought I definitely had to try it! I set up a meeting with nostalgia and another italian friend living here in Madrid. We really enjoyed our moment: great italian vibe at La Saletta! You can find a good selection of italian regional wines, sandwiches, cheese like burrata, italian warm dishes, handmade tiramisu (gosh..that was soooo good), coffee and liquors that we (the italianini) like and miss from home;( Some day I just need that: simple honest kitchen in a unpretentious ambient. I really like what’s happening in this market: young people bringing a lot of energy and fresh blood to the traditional (and a bit bogged down, let’s face it) stores, helping to revitalize the market and building new synergies between them. The cook of La Saletta told me he buys every day the pork meat directly to the butcher at the ground floor and then he prepares it italian way with his secret recipe. You can see him making that through the glass of his tiny kitchen if you have the luck to take seat in one of the few tables! Every friday afternoon at Saletta it’s afterwork time, every week with  a recipe from a different region of Italy. You can try porchetta having lunch there or, as I did, take it away to prepare my sandwich at home. A last detail: porchetta is so good that you can eat it also at room temperature or cold, that’s why it’s a big street food classic in Italy. And ok…what happens if you live really far from here and you can’t find porchetta anywhere. Well, you can try to cook it your own like that or… you can substitute it in the sandwich with the leftovers of your family roast. Because at the end is what this sandwich is: a monday, after xmas, tupper recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 sandwiches

3oo gr of your fav meat leftovers you have in your fridge after the xmas feasts. For me: the great porchetta by la Saletta. My new must.

half of a red chicory to stir with a sliced spring onion and raisins.

your beet mayo*

ev oil & saltandpepper




*For the beet mayo:

half of a raw beet 

1/2 teasp of fennel seeds freshly grounded

1 gore of garlic grounded 

a hint of your fav hot pepper/chili..

2/3  tbsp of handmade (or not…) mayo 


Of  course you can do the mayo handmade y add all the other ingredients at the end but I give you also a faster version: just carefully mix the express juice of a half raw beet inside your mayo until you reach a nice colour. Don’t add too much or it will become too liquid. Then add the grounded fennel & garlic to give the spicy touch. 

To prepare the sandwich: just stir 5 minutes the red chicory with spring onion and add some raisins at the end.  Cut the bread, spread the mayo all over the slices, add the meat and the chicory. If you make this at home griddle it a bit. It will taste even more amazing!

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 I like porchetta because it’s not the tipical “dry roast”, the meat stays incredibly juicy. The taste that make the difference here: the fennel. This sweet herb is the king of the stuffing inside the porchetta. I put a bit in the beet mayo too. Raisins, fennel, spring onion & beet help to balance the bitter of the chicory. Give it a try! 


Thanks to la SALETTA (I hope the guys won’t be too purist to consider a sacrilege to put a beet mayo in a porchetta sandwich…;).

You can find LA SALETTA open during the Antón Martín market timetable. Just remember: saturday closing time it’s at 3pm and sunday is closed. 

(*I investigated the origin of word fiaschetteria and I love it: literally means a “shop of  disasters” because the “frascas” were all the damaged glass or bottles in the old Venice bar cabinets).

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Pics © Picniquette 

Enjoy more LUNCHBOX: a  sandwich with cured beef, fresh goat’s cheese &.. persimmon handmade ketchup etchup(!?!) and an sandwich with pomegranate, butternut and cilantro pesto: going east! 


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