There’s nothing like a great new spin on pork belly. Maria Elia’s Full of Flavor contains a particularly good one — a healthy fennel and tomato salad with a hefty portion of succulent, fatty pork belly on top. Ready for today’s helping of crispy skin?
Anise has a natural affinity for pork. Fennel and fennel seeds accentuate the pork’s meatiness and add depth of flavor to complement the rich, slow roasted pork belly. Tomato lifts the flavor with an acidic hit.
- 2 1/4 prounds boneless pork belly, skin on
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
- 2 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 2 celery ribs, halved
- 1 onion, cut into thin wedges
- 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 fennel bulb
- 7 ounces cherry vine tomatoes, halved
- 3 1/2 ounces yellow cherry vine tomatoes, halved
- 1 garlic clove
- sea salt
- 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 8 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 bunch watercress, picked into sprigs
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the pork on a work surface, skin-side up, and use a clean craft knife to score lines into the pork rind, about 1/2-inch apart. Cut through the skin into the fat, but not into the meat. (You can ask your butcher to do this for you.)
- Mix together the fennel and coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon sea salt and the paprika. Rub this all over the skin, pushing it deep into the scored fat.
- Place the vegetables and thyme in a roasting pan and place the pork on top, skin-side up. Add half the stock and place in the oven.
- Roast for about 30 minutes, until the skin of the pork has started to turn into crackling.
- Meanwhile, prepare the fennel for the purée. Cut the bulbs in half lengthwise, then remove and discard the outer layer and core.
- Place the fennel and garlic on a piece of foil, drizzle with half the oil, sprinkle with salt and form a loose parcel. Place on a baking sheet. When the pork has been in for half an hour reduce the heat to 350 degrees.
- Add the remaining liquid to the meat and place the fennel parcel on another shelf in the oven. Roast for a further 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pork from the oven and rest for 10 minutes. Pass the juices through a fine sieve and skim off any excess fat.
- Place the cooked fennel and garlic in a blender. Add the lemon juice, the rest of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons pork cooking liquid. Blend until smooth, then season to taste.
- While the pork is resting, make the salad. Cut the fennel in half lengthwise, then remove and discard the outer layer and core. Thinly slice the bulb horizontally.
- Place in a bowl with the tomatoes and any wispy fennel tops. Crush the garlic with 1 teaspoon sea salt. Whisk the garlic, vinegar and oils together and pour over salad, tossing with some salt and pepper.
- Cut the pork lengthwise into about 3/4-inch strips and serve on top of the purée, with the salad.
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