I want to come out of the closet and say that I am not crazy about pork belly. I mean, it’s great in small doses, but I can’t do a ton. It’s too rich for me. Which is why I really love this recipe. The pickled rhubarb works with the pork belly because it adds some brightness that balances the fatty, savory flavor of the pork. The hazelnuts contribute an earthiness that does double duty: it cuts down the porkiness while accenting the flavor.
I like to serve this on quinoa or barley or something else grainy, but it’s delicious as is. I also like to top it with some fresh greens. Arugula is my choice because it has a strong enough flavor to stand up to the pork, but spinach or watercress would also be tasty.
If the thought of rhubarb and pork belly doesn’t call your name, you can use apples or pears instead. Apples and pork is a time-honored combo that you can’t go wrong with.
- Pickled rhubarb (recipe here)
- 2 pounds pork belly
- 2 tb Pepper
- 1 tsp Sumac
- 2 tsp Paprika
- 1 cup arugula
Make the pickled rhubarb up to a week ahead.
Slash the fat of the pork belly, but be careful not to cut the flesh. Sprinkle coarsely ground pepper, paprika, and sumac onto the pork. Wrap in parchment paper and then tinfoil and cook for 10 hours at 175°F.
Once the pork is mostly cooked, take it out, preserving the fat inside the package and salt the meat. Then pour the fat from the parchment into a pan, add the pork belly, and cook over medium-high heat until the exterior becomes crispy.
Chop and fry the hazelnuts in butter on the stove for a few minutes to release the aroma.
Serve the pork topped with chopped hazelnuts, pickled rhubarb, and a few greens.