There’s no finer part of a pig than it’s belly. The pork belly used to be a traded commodity, and why not? From the pork belly comes bacon, which we can all agree (vegans aside) is one of the first great contributions to the culinary pantheon. Thank the Brits for inventing this marvel during the first A.D. millennium.
Now, as much as I love bacon, what I really love is the alternate uses of pork belly. The background photo of this website (as of this writing) is a cassoulet I made with pork belly and smoked sausage. I brined the last pork belly I cooked in beer. This time around, I thought I would keep things simple and just give the pork belly a solid roasting.
Nigella Lawson, regardless of what you may think of her, is one of few celebrity chefs that I respect. I actually believe that she develops her recipes and her personality is nowhere near as grating as her American counterparts. Yes, she made some dodgy choices in men and recreational activities, but her recipes are attainable and well constructed. And, I think she is one of the most stunningly beautiful women I have ever seen.
Her pork belly recipe is very simple, but what caught me was the use of tahini. It adds an interesting complexity to the fatty pork. Of course, I started my preparation far too late to allow the pork to marinate overnight. Instead, I sped things up and changed a few things around.
WHAT WORKED: Tahini. I never really cooked with it before but I really like what it brings to the overall flavor profile of pork.
WHAT DIDN’T: My lack of planning.
EASE OF PREPARATION: Prep? Easy. Sourcing a pork belly might be tough. Check with your local butcher or Asian grocer.
BEST FOR: A weekend dinner.
SERVE WITH: Rice or a simple steamed vegetable. Don’t muck this up with a lot of complicated stuff.