It wouldn’t be the first I admit to liking pork. However, it seems something is changing and I’m not attracted by pork in any way. I’m not crazy about schnitzel, pork neck, “mici” with pork meat. I’m not a fan of sausages and tenderloin isn’t on my short list. I’ve started to appreciate the pieces which are better if cooked for a longer period of time. Ribs, brisket, belly, rump and bone-in pork chops, all of them slow cooked on low heat impress me. Let me tell you something about a piece of pork belly, with a bit of grease, with skin and plenty of meat. What’s with this meat? What would I do with it? What did I do with it (to be historically accurate)?
I took the piece of meat (about 2 kilos) and covered it with coarse salt, to make it lose some water. I kept it overnight in the fridge. The next day I cleaned the salt off it and put it in a deep tray. Next to it, I placed a few bulbs of garlic, a few branches of thyme, cloves, two whole hot peppers and a cinnamon stick. I also added a kilo and a half of pork and duck lard (this is what I had around the house, any lard is fine).
I left the tray in the oven for four hours at 150 degrees Celsius (heat coming from below). I transferred the pork belly on a tray, on parchment paper, and I pressed it with another tray in which I put something heavy. I roasted it while it was being pressed for another hour. The pressing has the role of thinning the layer of fat found in-between the layers of meat.
The business with the French fries was simple: peeled, cut julienne, fried in the lard left in the tray. Delicious. The parsley sauce: a handful of parsley, three tablespoons of oil, a tablespoon of lemon juice, salt, pepper, a bit of honey, blender. The red sauce: one red bell pepper put in the blender with three peeled tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, then put on low heat for a quarter of an hour.
Special thanks to
Oana Bodnariuc, Authorized Translator