Sunday, February 19, 2012

Regaining Balance after the Momofuku Pork Belly

So you take a couple of pounds of pork belly, you rub it all over with a mixture of even parts salt and sugar, and you throw it into a 500 degree oven for an hour, followed by an hour at 200 degrees. Then you slice it, slap it into a steamed bun, and serve it with quick pickles and hoisin sauce. You have guests, because this is a lot of pork, but by then end of the night you feel... you feel like you just ate all of the saturated fat in the world. All of it. Even your thoughts feel greasy.

So you eat nothing but lentils and greens for a week, and do not even feel deprived.

Now you have the last few slices of belly, and about four cups of beautiful rendered fat. You may have even saved a half cup of soy sauce colored drippings. What are you going to do with this bounty?

Use it to make vegetables wonderful. Obviously.

Why yes, you could skip the beautiful greasy belly part and just use bacon and bacon fat.

So! Take the tough outer leaves and dry base off of about twelve brussels sprouts, and then quarter them lengthwise. Microwave them for a minute. Chop up a bacon slice sized piece of pork belly. Heat a cast iron pan so that it's quite hot. Add a teaspoon of pork fat. Let melt. Add the belly. Stir. Add the sprouts. Stir. Cook for about three minutes, tasting occasionally. Season with salt, Sriracha, or lemon juice. (Oh, or kimchi! That would be awesome!)

Cut two heads of broccoli into florets. Repeat the chopped slice of belly, hot pan, dab of pork fat plan from the above recipe. Stir fry the broccoli until just tender. Drizzle about a tablespoon of the pork pan drippings and eat. (Hunched over the dish, on the sofa, ignoring the rest of the meal.)

Microwave about half a pound of potatoes for three minutes. Place three tablespoons of pork fat into a cast iron pan. Quarter the potatoes and put them in the pan cut side down. Cook in a 450 degree oven for fifteen-twenty minutes. Prepare a decoy starch to distract your spouse. Laugh maniacally.

The pan will always be very hot. At no point should you remove the pan from a heat source with a potholder and then transfer the still hot pan to your unprotected hand. I just thought I should mention this. In case.