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Sous Vide: Dashi-Nori Seared Pork Belly

Bacon is called "bacon" to insulate us from the squeamishness caused by the term "pork belly." Anatomically, the two items are identical!

Ingredients

Pork belly, raw, 16 oz/450 g.

Nori/Dashi Sous-B-Q Rub or your preferred brand/home made version.

Bartlett pears, 1 each.
Plums, 1 each.
Grapefruit, 1 each.
Red leaf lettuce, 1 head.
Lemon juice, as needed.
Extra virgin olive oil, 2 oz/60 ml.
Kosher salt, as needed.
Ground black pepper, as needed.

Molasses vinegar
Molasses, 0.5 cups/120 ml.
White vinegar, 0.5 cups/120 ml.
Garlic powder, a pinch.

Purple Surple, a few drops.

Catalina vinaigrette, a few drops.

Equipment requirements:
Immersion circulator, portable or stationary.
Lipavi C10 or other heat rated container, approximately 2.5 gallons/10 liters.
Heat rated sous vide bags.
Channel or chamber vacuum device
Infrared thermometer.
Wire whisk.
Squirt bottles, as needed.

 

Above: Lipavi C10 container, L10 Lid. Lipavi N10X anti-float rack.

Serves 4
Level of difficulty 3

Procedure:

Sous vide processing–pork belly

Set the temperature of the bath to
135 F/57 C 

Vacuum seal the pork belly and stage into the pre-heated sous vide bath. Set a timer for 24 hours. 

Recommended method of shocking

Once the time has elapsed, the package must be submerged in iced water to chill. We recommend using a siphon to remove the water from the vessel. After turning off the immersion circulator, refill the vessel with iced water–most immersion circulators will continue to measure the temperature. If the water’s temperature exceeds 70 F/21 C after fifteen minutes, repeat the cooling process. When the package(s) have settled at this temperature, siphon out the cold water. Remove the Lipavi rack with the pork belly package and refrigerate at 40 F/4 C. This method saves space and allows for cold air to circulate around the package. In the chilled state, they can be safely refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Molasses vinegar

In a small sauce pan, combine the 0.5 cups/120 ml molasses with the 0.5 cups/120 ml white vinegar. Bring to a a steady simmer and reduce by half to 0.5 cups/120 ml. Allow to cool and stage into a squirt bottle or other appropriate container for drizzling.

Catalina vinaigrette

Use a wire whisk to combine the ketchup, garlic powder, onion powder, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and dried parsley. Continue stirring while you drizzle in the vegetable oil. Transfer to a squirt bottle.

Finishing

Submerge the packaged pork belly in hot tap water to melt the gel. Remove from the package and pat dry. Slice the pork belly into four pieces, thick enough so that it stands up on the plate–you may have to “square” the bottom side in order to do this–trimmings become snacks for the cook! Cut hash marks on one side of the pork belly to create the crisscross effect. Set aside.

Bring 1 quart/1 liter of water to a furious boil in a sauce pan. Submerge the plum in the water for thirty seconds. You will see the peel start to pull away from the fruit. Remove the plum from the boiling water and submerge in iced water. Set aside. Use a knife to peel the grapefruit and cut wedges from in between the membranes. Set aside. Use a paring knife to peel the pear. Cut into sections and discard the core. Set aside. Lay single leaves of lettuce out on parchment, sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Drizzle with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Stack the leaves up and set aside to macerate.

Heat a saute pan to 350 F/176 C, add a few drops of vegetable oil to coat the pan and add the sliced pork belly with the hash marks down. Sprinkle with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Reduce heat to medium and sear on one side until lightly rendered, about five minutes. Flip over the pork belly and turn off the pan.

Roll the stacked lettuce into a tight cylinder, trim the edges and place on the plate.

Arrange the assorted fruits near the center.

Drizzle the molasses vinegar around the edge of the plate and add a few drops of Purple Surple.

Dot the plate with the Catalina vinaigrette and stand the seared pork belly up next to them. Sprinkle with the Nori/Dashi Sous-B-Q Rub and a few drops of extra virgin olive oil.

 

Norm King

 

 

 

About

It was not so long ago that people who ate bacon at breakfast every day cringed at the idea of eating something called "pork belly," regardless of how it was prepared. The two proteins are anatomically identical. When properly cured and smoked, bacon's fat content is not measurably less than sous vide processed pork belly. Fat is removed/rendered during the finishing/frying process at the discretion of the cook.

Fortunately, other forces and trends have caused uncured pork belly to appear in butchers' cases, at least intermittently. This gives us an opportunity to explore its amazing versatility, equally compatible with a variety of complimentary flavors--even sweet ones!

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