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Author Notes: This dish is like an outfit you can wear 10 different ways. Alone, the greens make a fresh and serviceable salad. Add the pungent, earthy morels and the salad has some meatiness to it. With the pork belly (and crispy skin), this dish is transformed from heart healthy to decadent guilty pleasure. The oozy fat, the succulent pork and crispy skin in combination with everything else on the plate result in mouthfeel overload. You can substitute bacon or lardons and likely duck in this dish, but the layered pork belly is such a treat--give yourself a day for the pork belly to brine. You won't use all the pork belly, so you can freeze what you don't use and have pork belly buns another day. —edamame2003
- 1 pound kurabota pork belly (from Japanese grocer--I believe this is also known as Berkshire pork)
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 6-8 sprigs of thyme (removed from stems)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- combine the sugar and salt in 1 cup of water until dissolved.
- Pour the mixture and thyme in a covered container large enough to hold the brine and pork).
- Score the skin as deep as the first layer of fat, about 1-inch apart. Place the pork belly, skin side up in the container and cover.
- Let brine for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Remove the pork belly and rinse off the brine.
- place the meat, skin side up in a covered pot and add the stock. cook at 300 degrees for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours, turn up the heat to 450 degrees for 30 minutes,
- Let the pork belly cool and freeze for about 20 minutes. When you want to make the salad, take the pork belly out of the freezer, slice into 1-inch cubes.
- warm the pieces you'll be using in the oven at 300 degrees for 10 minutes.
- 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1/4 pound morels, sliced thinly
- 2 cups loosely packed wild arugula
- 1/2 shallot, diced
- 1 Meyer lemon juice
- thyme leaves
- salt and pepper to tase
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- shaved pecorino cheese (optional)
- Drizzle oil, salt and pepper on asparagus. Grill the asparagus for approximately 5 minutes. Let cool and slice into 1-inch pieces.
- in a saucepan, add a little oil and stir fry the morels until the juice releases.
- To make the vinaigrette, combine the shallots, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper to taste with the oil and combine.
- To plate, split arugula, asparagus, morels in two plates. Add the pork belly (probably only want 2-3 pieces). Drizzle the lemon vinaigrette over the greens and top with pecorino cheese shavings (optional)
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spring Vegetable Recipe
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