Sunday, April 20, 2014

Culinary Adventures: New Jersey Pork Roll

I have to admit that I had never heard of this regional delicacy until a couple of weeks ago. I was chatting with a friend of mine and regaling him with my great Spam caper. I managed to get a can of Spam to a friend of mine who was in Outer Mongolia. At that time Ulan Bataar was a Spam free zone.

My friend Bill enjoyed the story and said that New Jersey had a dish that was based on pork and seasonings but blew the socks off Spam. I was dubious, what could possibly be better than Spam?

Yesterday, the good old USPS knocked on my door. Included in the packages was a box postmarked New Jersey. I was pretty certain that one box did not contain Books or DVD’s. Generally you don’t pack books in dry ice!

It was a delivery of fresh Pork Roll! My wife was dubious about the adventure, and my stepson wanted no part of it. But I was determined. I had researched the best recipes. They all call for Kaiser buns, fried eggs and eeek, Kraft Singles,

I love cheese, I usually have some in the refrigerator. Rarely though can you find processed American Cheese slices in it. Obviously I wanted to keep the recipe as close to real as possible. A trip to the local megamart provided the Kaiser Rolls and the un-cheese.

The next issue was the Pork Roll. The recipes said that you need to slice it and then sauté it in butter. Lets be honest, anything that involves real butter gets my vote. Good news! Pork Roll is a lot different to Spam. You can slice it and it holds together. It is more like a summer sausage.

I cut a Kaiser in half, and gave it a quick whirl in the toaster, I am not a huge eater of bread so opted for an open faced approach. Butter on my side, mayo for the wife.

I had been warned that the slices would curl up during the cooking, the key was to make some small cuts on the outside.

After about 5 mins the Pork roll slices had taken on a nice color and the aroma was even better. I put them on the Kaiser halves and slapped on some un-cheese. Two sunny side up fried eggs joined the party.

The result was nothing short of spectacular!

New Jersey Pork Roll is nothing like spam. It was the taste and texture of Canadian Bacon which is one of my favorite things.

I do not mean this as an endorsement, I am sure that there are several companies that make Pork Roll and I am sure that they are just as great. My Pork Roll was made by Case.

Try it, if you love Canadian Bacon, you will love Pork Roll.

OK, I am off to make another creation. I love the idea of a slice of buttered toast with a couple of slices of Pork Roll topped off with a Portobello Mushroom. I am salivating at the thought.

Simon Barrett

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