I finally cooked pork belly. This could be dangerous. I was at the Amish Market in Kingston and noticed they had it, and at only $2.29 a pound. Of course, mind you, this is another story of a once cheap cut (usually cured for salt pork or bacon) that is now the darling of up-market chefs. And the Chinese have always appreciated it.
I surfed around the Internet and found lots of suggestions, and in the end, went with a simple preparation, thanks to Cucina Rebecca. I scored the top lengthwise (maybe that’s supposed to make the fat drain out easier?). Sprinkled it with coarse sea salt and olive oil.
I used two large onions, peeled and cut in half, as “trivets” and slid the pan in a 320° oven with a little water in the bottom of the pan. Per instructions, I added a little more water from time to time. It’s supposed to keep the drippings from burning, but mine did a little anyway. No matter. I was careful not to baste the top.
After about 3 hours, I decided it was done. The top could have been a little darker and crisper, but I didn’t want the meat to dry out underneath it. Even with all that fat basting down, I know that can still happen.
Then I removed the meat to a cutting board and sliced it (top photo). Meanwhile, I’d roasted some slices of pineapple (dipped in the pork fat then roasted on high in toaster oven on a rack.) I also ate some of the caramelized onion, after draining off as much fat as I could. Roasting pork belly is too, too, simple. I will have to restrain myself from indulging in this too often during the winter.
I was inspired to try this myself because of the wonderful pork belly I’d enjoyed at Mediterra not long ago (see my post).
I’d like the chance to try it with really good pork sometime, I remember the pork at Mediterra was a lot darker, which to me is a good thing. (I’m always complaining about how the pork people ruined pork when they thought we needed another white meat. Now they’re trying to backpedal as fast as they decently can.)