Photo by Tara Stevens
Arista is a popular Tuscan dish of roast pork rubbed in chopped rosemary and garlic.
It evokes the scent of an early spring when cooking and makes an impressive party dish for a lazy Sunday lunch, especially since all you really have to do is throw it in the oven and forget about it. In this version I added juniper (enebro) berries that I bought on a recent visit to the Santa Catalina market in Palma de Mallorca, where they are particularly good. You can easily get them in the Boqueria and some supermarkets or, if you felt so inclined, they can be foraged in the Collserolla hills, or along the cliffs between Sitges and Vilanova. Juniper berries are small, dark, squishy berries that look like withered blackcurrants and grow on a viciously spiky shrub. They also have a distinctive gin aroma, so you can’t really miss them.
Ingredients (serves six)
• 2-2.5 kgs skin-on pork loin or belly (look for a cut that has some fat) for roasting
• 4 tbsp finely-chopped fresh rosemary
• 2 tbsp juniper berries, pounded to a paste in a pestle and mortar
• 5 cloves garlic, pounded to a paste in a pestle and mortar
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp black pepper, ground
• Enough olive oil to make a loose paste from all the herbs and seasonings
Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl, then rub into the entire pork joint and leave overnight in the fridge. The next day, preheat the oven to 250ºC and cook the pork for 25-30 minutes so the skin starts to crisp and crackle. Turn the heat down to 200ºC and cook for another hour, then transfer from the oven to a serving platter and leave to rest loosely covered in tin foil for 15-20 minutes before carving. Serve with olive oil mashed potatoes, roasted apples, buttered Savoy cabbage and a gravy made from the pan juices. Or alternatively, as a cold cut for lunches or picnics.