buccaneer type grub
time for another little recipe.
seems like everyones bit tired of fish and im doubting if the crustacean/cephalopod argument will work..
so meat it is.
pork bellys great because its cheap, expect to pay about £4 per kilo, and its tasty.
if its cooked properly it will be melt in the mouth delicioso, but it does take some cooking.
ive been cooking pork belly for years, i love it and i normally serve it with just some black pudding, scallops and dressing. but it seems pirate types dont really do starters or small portions, so ive put together a different and i think delicious little dish for you.
we can call it,
"Confit pork belly with pickled asian veg, baby spinach, scallops and scallions"
(the scallops are optional)
for 4 - 6 people we should need
1 kg pork belly
1L veg oil
3 scallops per person
1 bag baby spinach
1 bunch scallions
1 head of brocolli
1 red onion
1 red pepper
(you can use pretty much any veg you like, but those are what ive used)
1 red chilli
(that little lot shouldnt be too expensive, you should be able to make enough for 6 people for around a tenner)
the thing with this particular recipe is time, it needs a lot of time, but doesn't take a lot of effort
its the sort of dish the ships cook would prep when he's leaving southampton dock and dish up when anchors dropping in the horn of africa, and the crew are all ready to keelhaul him if he serves them another fish.
first thing you want to do is sort out your pork belly, you can ask your butcher to remove the skin for you, if a sissy ye be. or you can sharpen the cutlass and do it yourself, whatever make sure you keep it for crackling.
this crackling recipe is excellent
with the skin removed, lightly salt the belly all over, imagine it as already cooked, just put as much salt on it as you think it would need, then put a bit more for luck. now add your herbs &/or spices, theres no rules in cooking so the types of herbs and spices are up to you, you can even omit them if you wish.
(personally i like to use thyme, sage, parlsley and rosemary. in the oil i put cloves, juniper berries, bay leaves and garlic)
but if you are using them just try and cover the whole belly with whatever your using, then wrap it tightly in cling film and lock it in the pantry for at least 24hrs. (ideally 48)
next up we have our pickled asian veg
again theres no real recipe here just a method, the ingredients are pretty much all interchangeable, some will work well.
some might not.
so take your veg and slice it all fairly thinly, place it in a big bowl and salt it all whilst mixing it thoroughly together
keep tasting it as you salt it, you want it to be quite salty but not nasty.
next up toast off some sesame seeds (if using) and throw them in with the veg.
finely chop your red chilli, crush a few cloves of garlic and a small piece of ginger, mix these all together with enough
sesame oil to make a paste then mix this paste thoroughly through your veg mix. mix in some sugar to taste
finally put all the veg mix into a pickling jar (or whatever you have, i use a clay biscuit jar) and pour on some vinegar,
not loads just enough to get it all wet.
the idea is that the salt will draw a lot of the moisture out the veg anyway but the vinegar helps get the pickling started
oh by the way, make sure your pickling jar is 100% clean and sterile, this sort of pickling is similar to sauerkraut in that
we are fermenting the veg using lactic acid bacteria, which is great but..
vegetables can be as dangerous as raw meat and can harbour some pretty nasty bacteria too. botulism anyone?
so just be careful.
anyway once the veg is in your jar the idea is that the pickling liquid should cover it, this isnt always immediately the case
so it helps to fill a freezer bag with cold water and use that to cover it.
so by now your pickled veg should be in your larder and the pork belly will have been "curing" for a couple of days.
next up the "confiting" of the pork.
the word confit like most cookery terms comes from the french, "confire" which means to preserve, its generally used to
describe foods which have been cooked slowly in fat and thats what we're going to do.
cover your pork belly in veg oil, totally immerse it and whack it into your oven set on 100c.
it might take about 5 hours cooking, when its done just pop the whole thing, oil and all into the fridge to set.
again this type of preparation will exetend the shelf life of the meat greatly, undisturbed and covered it could probably
still be fit to eat months later, but i wouldnt advise that. also a lot of kitchens who use this method keep the oil and use it
again and again which is good for creating more flavour.
so anyway now we should be a few days down the line, your pork bellys cooked and in the fridge and your veg has been pickling
for at least 2 days.
the scallions (spring onions) are used just as a garnish on this dish, to prepare the scallions
you need to slice them thinly on an angle then immerse them in iced water for at least an hour before using,
this helps them to curl up.
time to make a dressing for the baby spinach.
again theres no right and wrong here, some dressings taste good some dont.
a typical asian style dressing might be..
1/2 tbsp soy sce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp fish sce
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sesame oil
but again anything goes, even just a glug of decent olive oil will do.
time to serve this.
i know this recipe does seem complicated and its a bit long but really its not that hard.
broken down into stages its very simple
5.cook and eat
its really no more than an hours work. and its totally worth it, no dish will beat this for pirateness anyway,
its totally buccaneer, right down to the spinach
so to serve it, cut your pork belly into portions and deep fry them until they are golden brown.
dress your spinach leaves and plate along with some of the pickled veg, garnish the pork belly with the scallions and if your
using the scallops pan fry them and serve them along side the pork
and if you want, finely slice some ginger and serve that on top of the scallions
avast, that be it me hearties.
i hopes ye tries it and finds it not scurvy like.