How I decided to use my pork belly
So, I am becoming a bit obsessed with this pork belly. I had a dream last night that I was furiously researching all the different preparations I could and should do with it, and came to the conclusion in my dream that ONE pork belly would never be enough — I must go back to The Piggery and get more pork bellies! This coming weekend is the last they’ll be at the farmer’s market for the season — so I woke up thinking to myself “well, I guess I should go back and get another slab or two!”
A few of you commented that you’d like to see me try Ruhlman’s confit method, and that was the way I was leaning, too. I want to try Pim’s five-spice braise, and I also found an article today by Ming Tsai about making homemade bacon (with Ruhlman, no less!) So now I have three different things I need to try with pork belly!
But this week, the belly will be confited. I discovered a few years ago that duck confit is one of the best foodstuffs on this earth (duck confit is also something I’m going to try making this winter). In addition to to Ruhlman’s idea of breading and frying up “croutons” of confited pork belly to top a Caesar salad, I’m also thinking some crisped up pieces of pork belly confit would be pretty great as a topping for toasted baguette slices, maybe with roasted apples and some greens tossed in an acidic vinaigrette. Maybe I’ll toss some cubes of the confit with some homemade pasta, butternut squash, and spinach – yum. Confiting meat was traditionally used as method of preservation, so the confited pork belly should keep in my fridge (in the fat it’s cooked in) for a few months!
Let’s get down to it, then. Step 1 is to give the pork belly a good rubdown with kosher salt and quatre épices.
Okay – I had no white pepper, so it was black peppercorns that I pounded in my little mortar and pestle.
I combined the ground pepper with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg — roughly 2:1:1:1.
A few garlic cloves were smashed and roughly chopped…
Now it’s time to rub the belly down with kosher salt and the quatre épices.
I tucked the belly into a large ziploc bag and into the fridge it went overnight.
Coming up tomorrow, step 2: the spa treatment for my pork belly continues with a long, slow simmer in fat (the “confit” part!) ‘Till then…