Featured dish: roast crispy pork belly, matcha powdered date/black garlic ball, goat cheese truffle sauce, baby greens
Well overpriced bacon is available everywhere, whole chunks of pork belly is generally available in most Asian grocers. It is a cut of meat that Chinese people love, especially in winter in northeastern China. Growing up I never seemed to have enough of it.
A couple months ago, I had the pleasure of eating at Alden&Harlow in Harvard Sq with my former coworkers/friends. The Berkshire pork belly impressed us all: crispy on the outside, especially the crackling skin on the top, tender and melty on the inside, and above all intensely porky. I have been wanting to experiment with achieving the same texture since then.
I consulted my friend Dana, an awesome food and fashion blogger (her blog) who entertain a broad fandom with sexy/gorgeous fashion photos and inspiring delicious homemade dishes. She recommended roasting low T and cover to maintain moisture. I followed her wisdom by experimenting with roasting a piece of pork belly wrapped in foil at 250F for 3hrs followed by broiling to make the skin crispy, and got very similar texture to what we had at Alden Harlow, although the flavor of meat fell short because it was not out of a Berkshire pig. I also did 2 other experiments flavored the pork with miso and in one trial and with mixture of spices in the other, and both turned out well.
Roast pork belly:
For miso flavored pork: rub a 2 to 3 lbs piece of pork belly with generous amount of miso paste, leave it on for 3 days before roasting;
For spiced pork: roughly ground up a spice mixture of coriander seeds, Sichuan peppercorn, black pepper corn, mace, aged orange peel. Sprinkle the pork generously with salt and raw sugar and spice mix. You can leave this overnight, or immediately proceed to step2.
Step2: Place pork in roasting pan, pour in the pan 1/2 of Vermouth. Cover tightly with foil, and roast in oven preheated to 250F for 3hrs.
Step3: Broil for 5 to 10 minutes, until top of pork golden brown but not burned. Rest 5min before cutting and serving.
For the plated dish, the pork is accompanied by a date/black garlic ball rolled in matcha powder. The sweetness of date pairs well the fatty pork, and the black garlic adds a hint of fruitiness and remote taste of garlic. The white sauce is goat cheese that was mixed with truffle pieces which were sieved out for clean whiteness.