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Carpaccio of Plum with Baby Mustard Greens, Shaved Porchetta & Balsamic Cipolline Onions

Executive Chef Suzette Gresham
& Chef de Cuisine Mark Pensa
Acquerello Restaurant

How to serve something more interesting than just ruffled slices of Porchetta on a plate?

Why not a “salad” that could provide loft and a more interesting backdrop? The herbs add a bright freshness that cuts the rich fattiness and high gelatin ratio of the meat, while the olive oil acts as the vehicle that carries the balsamic twinge from the pickled cipolline onions, gently forward, forming a bridge between all the combined flavors.

[Yields 6 salads]

INGREDIENTS [Porchetta Prep & Cipolline Onions]

6 slices Porchetta di testa, or Italian head cheese, sliced paper thin (recipe to follow)

6 each cipolline onions, pickled and sliced horizontally into rings


6 plums or pluots, with yellow internal flesh

6 plums or pluots, with red internal flesh


With a sharp knife, slice paper thin slices of plum, skin on, and arrange slightly overlapping,

alternating colors in a circle, in the center of the plate. Cover and refrigerate.


1 head frisee lettuce

4 oz red frilly mustard

4 oz mustard lettuce, baby

4 oz mizuna

4 oz baby arugula


Pick stems, drop individual leaves into cool water bath in oversized container. Submerge. Wait 8 to 10 minutes. Lift out into spinner in two batches. Spin. Store covered in refrigerator.


3 baby carrots, different colors, peeled and sliced thinly (hold in water)

6 French breakfast radishes, sliced thinly (hold in water)

2 tarragon stems, leaves picked

2 stalks mint, leaves picked

1 large fennel frond, picked, without stem

Il Vigoroso, extra virgin olive oil/other southern Italian olive oil, to taste

Black pepper, ground, to taste

Kosher salt, to taste

6 pansy flowers, petals picked free


Pull chilled plates with plums. Uncover. Lightly brush plums with olive oil and season. Drain carrots and radishes well. Add to large bowl and season lightly. Add all greens and herbs. Dress with olive oil. Season liberally with fresh ground black pepper and keep salt to a minimum.

Mix in shaved/sliced, torn pieces of porchetta and horizontally sliced cipolline onions. Lift and cage the first layer of salad mix with your hands into the center of the circle of plums. Make sure torn edges of porchetta and some cipolline are visible.

Gather and place second, smaller and final layer of salad mix making pyramid effect. Primp and adjust components so that all are colorfully visible. Finish by placing pansy petals strategically. Serve immediately.


1 pig’s head, boned out

[Curing Mix]

7 cups granulated sugar

7 cups salt

1 Tbsp pink salt (curing salt)

2 cups paprika, ground

1 cup black pepper corns

8 Tien Tsin dry red chilies


Cover the pig’s head with the curing mix. Let cure for 24 to 48 hours. Wash off the curing mix. Torchon the cured head in plastic wrap. Cook at 175°F for 4 to 5 hours or until tender. Chill, unwrap and then taste. Slice very thinly.

[Cipolline Onions]

6 cipolline onions, peeled

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/8 cup olive oil

1/2 shallot, peeled

1 gram rosemary


Place all ingredients in a vacuum sealable bag. Seal. Place bag in pot of boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes.

Check for doneness. Remove. Chill. Drain, but reserve liquid. Remove onions and slice. Strain reserved liquid back over onions. Refrigerate. Hold.

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