I found some fresh Yuzu at Mitsuwa last week and the first thing that came to mind was of course to make Pierre Hermé Yuzu macarons with candied grapefruit. So why in the world is this post about pork belly!? you asked. At $4 a pop for these Japanese citrus i didn’t want to waste any of it so i carefully grated the precious zest, mixed it with salt, sugar and a little rosemary and used this mixture as an overnight cure for a nice chunk of pork belly i bought in Chinatown a day earlier. The bright flavors of the yuzu zest and rosemary penetrated the meat perfectly cutting through the richness of the belly without overpowering it.
I followed David Chang’s technique that consist of blasting the cured-pork belly at 450’F for an hour and lowering the temperature to 250’F for 2 more hours which resulted in a caramelized pork roast with a dangerously addictive sweet/savory crust and a fork-tender interior. The extra oomph came from a drizzle of reduced vinegar and a touch of a hot pepper powder i bought in Kyoto last year, its main purpose is to spice up noodles but it did a fine job at kicking things up here too.
Of course fresh peas, fava beans and butter lettuce are a natural match to bacon, even better with fresh bacon if you ask me. I can’t even begin to tell you how good this was.. but i can tell you this one is going straight to the vault of ‘extra special’ recipes.
Yuzu-Cured Pork Belly
- serves 4-6
Pork Belly Recipe:
- 2 pieces of 2 lbs pork belly
- 1/3 cup Kosher salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Grated zest from 4 yuzu or 3 lemons
- 1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
- 1/2 lb fresh peas, blanched
- 1/2 lb fresh fava beans, blanched
- shredded butter head lettuce
- 3 tablespoons butter
- chicken stock
- salt, to taste
- hot pepper powder, to taste
- vinegar reduction, to taste
For the cured pork belly:
- Combine the kosher salt and sugar in a small bowl and add the grated zest and chopped rosemary. Rub with your fingers until the zest and rosemary is fully incorporated and the mixture is fragrant.
- If the pork belly still have the skin on, remove it carefully with a sharp knife. Rub the salt/sugar mixture all over the pork belly. Discard the excess. Place on a clean baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (no more than 12 hours).
- The next day, preheat the oven to 450’F. Brush off the excess cure, place the pork belly on a clean baking tray and roast for 1 hour, basting occasionally with the fat. Lower the heat to 250’F and continue cooking for another 2 hours. You will have a beautiful golden brown pork belly roast. You can use it right away but it’s easier to cut neat slices after letting it cool overnight and reheating it in a low oven.
- Melt the butter in a large sautee pan. Add the shredded butterhead lettuce and sautee until wilted. Add the peas and fava beans and season with salt. Add a little chicken stock and let it reduce until it’s all absorbed and the mixture is glazed.
- Divide equally between 4 plates. Top with sliced pork belly. Drizzle with a vinegar reduction and sprinkle with hot pepper powder. Serve immediately.