Braised pork belly with roasted K&J Orchards apricots, pickled green strawberries and nasturtium

  • • 3lbs pork belly (no skin)
  • • Belly rub (1C kosher salt, 1C brown sugar, 2T ground all spice, 1T ground clove, 1/2 T ground cinnamon, 1/4T ground star anise)
  • • 2 quarts veal stock
  • • Mirepoix of celery (onion, fennel, apple)
  • Cut all items in quarters
  • • Water as needed
  • • 1 small pan to fit the belly flat (about 4in tall)
  1. For the pork-belly you will need to mix the dry ingredients for the cure before seasoning the belly. Start by gently scoring the skin side of the belly to form diamond shapes across the entire top of the belly, allowing it to expand as it cooks. Make straight lines about 1in apart. You do not need to cut through the fat into the meat, just enough to mark the fat.
  2. Once the skin side of the belly is marked, generously season with the rub. Allow this to cover the entire belly top and bottom. Next, fill the bottom of your braising pan with one even layer of the mirepoix and place the belly over the top with the skin side up.
  3. Bring the veal stock up to a boil and pour into the braising pan, only allowing the liquid to crown the corners of the belly, do not cover the belly with the liquid completely. Use the water as needed to reach the level desired.
  4. Cover with foil and cook at 300 degrees for 3.5 hours.
  5. Remove the cover and turn the oven to 400 degrees. Continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes to allow to caramelize, baste the belly every 10 minutes and do not let the belly burn; you want a dark brown color to be even on the belly surface.
  6. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the liquid. Once it is at room temperature, remove the pork belly and press under a weight to achieve an even thickness. Cut into portions of 2in by 2in.
  7. Strain the liquid and reserve.
  8. Pickled green strawberries
  9. • 2C granulated sugar
  10. • 2C white wine
  11. • 1C red wine vinegar
  12. • 1C champagne vinegar
  13. • 4 pints of green strawberries, washed with stems removed
  14. Combine the sugar, wine and vinegars and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling liquid over the top of the strawberries. Cover the container and let sit at room temperature until cool, refrigerate until ready to use. Store extra strawberries in the liquid.
  15. Apricots
  16. 4 apricots cut into quarters
  17. Granulated sugar
  18. Press one side of the quartered apricot gently into the sugar. Using a torch, brulee the sugar to gain a crispy and caramelized apricot.
When ready to serve
Using a small amount of grapeseed oil heat a sauté pan until the oil is almost at its smoking point. Sear the portioned belly pieces on all sides. Once you have reached the final side of the portion, add a small amount of the braising liquid and allow it to reduce. Basting the belly will allow the liquid to slowly glaze the pork belly as it reduces.
Place belly on the plate and garnish with fruits. Pick pedals off nasturtium flowers and place the leaves as well. Finish with fleur de sel.