Pork belly roasted on the spot with apple salad
Pull this recipe out of your hat when you really want to wow the crowds. Perfect for a special occasion!
“This is the perfect dish to serve a crowd, and makes a great centrepiece for a gathering of family and friends. I like to dry-age all meat, in particular pork belly, because it helps to make the skin crisp. Order the pork belly one week in advance and ask your butcher to dry-age it for you. This dish can be eaten hot or cold, and is delicious thinly sliced in a panino ( bread roll), “ says chef Alessandro Pavoni.
2 kg pork belly, skin on, 500 g fine salt
tablespoons salt flakes
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped
1 potato, scrubbed and cut in half ( optional)
Apple salad 2 red apples 4 large handfuls (about 4 cups) lamb’s ear lettuce
100 g Grana Padano, freshly shaved
chardonnay vinegar, for drizzling
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the pork on a tray, skin-side up, and cover the skin with fine salt. Refrigerate for 6 hours, then brush off the salt.
- To butterfly the pork, slice it widthways almost all the way through. Open it up and spread the salt flakes, pepper and rosemary over the flesh. Roll it up like a Swiss roll, as tightly as possible so that only the skin is showing on the outside, if possible. Loop a piece of kitchen twine lengthways around the centre of the roll and tie it, then turn the roll 90° and loop the twine around again. Tie it off, then tie around the circumference of the roll at 4 cm intervals. When you get to the end, go back the other way, placing the twine diagonally between each section.
- Thread a rotisserie fork (or half a potato), onto the barbecue spit, then thread the rolled pork on lengthways and finish with a rotisserie fork (or remaining half of the potato), to hold it firmly in place.
- Place over a cold barbecue, place a metal tray underneath the spit (a disposable aluminium one is fine), then turn the heat on to low. Cover and cook for 1 hour 45 minutes, checking occasionally that the roll is securely attached to the spit and browning evenly; if not, carefully reposition the pork on the spit. Increase the heat to medium, poke holes in the skin with a carving fork to release some of the fat (this will help crisp the skin), and cook for another 2 hours. Turn the heat off and leave, with the lid closed, for 30 minutes; the pork will continue to cook in the residual heat in this time.
- Meanwhile, to make the apple salad, thinly slice the apples and combine with the lettuce, Grana, a drizzle each of vinegar and oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the twine from the pork, cut into 1 cm-thick slices and serve with the apple salad. Discard (or eat!) the potato.
Recipes from the book A Lombardian Cookbook by Alessandro Pavoni and Roberta Muir, with photography by Chris Chen, published by Lantern, RRP $59.99