The pig's head must be cleaned.
The snout, mouth and ears will have to be cleaned but I think
you can get a good butcher to do it for you. He will also have
to skin it to remove the tough outer layer and the hairs, but
leave the fat intact. When you get it home, wash it well under
running water and let it drain.
Set the head on your cutting
board. Make a few slits in the fleshier part of it and insert
the garlic cloves. I put them towards the back of the head,
near the neck. Sprinkle the whole thing with lots of salt and
pepper and a generous amount of cumin.
Set it in a large bowl and pour
the marinade over it. Let it stand over night, covered, in the
refrigerator to absorb the spices.
When you are ready to cook it
set it in a pan, sitting up and staring at you. Add an inch of
water, and if you wish a spicier version, sprinkle with more
salt and pepper and cumin. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil
and roast it at about 325°F for 2 to 3 hours. You can check if
it's done by piercing the fleshiest part, it should cut
easily. For the last half hour of cooking, remove the foil and
increase the temperature to 375°F so that the outside can
brown – I got creative and put an apple in it’s mouth at this
stage to bake with it.
When you serve it, you will
have to split the cranium with a heavy knife. Pigs don’t have
a large brain cavity, so most of it will be meat.
This traditional dish is served as a Meze here on the Islands.
So have lots of chilled Ouzo or Raki on hand as well as an
array of other appetizers.