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Experiment: Crackling Bites

Crackling Bites 1A

I was recently thinking about using those commercially packaged pork rinds as a substitute for crackers or bread in canapé type appetizers and it struck me that one could probably use the lovely crackling from an actual roast of pork to good effect. Today, I am going to show you what I did in my very first experiment along these lines. I’m not going to provide you with a proper detailed recipe just yet because, though interesting, the result needs a little more work…

Crackling Bites 2

I started out by roasting a piece of pork belly with the rind attached to produce some nice crackling using my basic method. Rather than cutting the rind in strips as I would usually do, I sliced it into bite sized squares.

Crackling Bites 3

After cutting away the squares, I trimmed off all but a tiny bit of the underlying fat (I left a little for extra texture).

Crackling Bites 4

I made a topping by finely dicing a little of the lean part of the pork belly along with some tomato and scallion. I seasoned with pepper and used a bare half-teaspoon or so of a commercial Salsa as a binder.

Crackling Bites 5

To assemble, I spread each square with a little Basil Pesto then topped this with some of the meat mixture. After that, I added a little circle of Provolone cheese.

Crackling Bites 6

Finally, I garnished each piece with either a circle of red chili, or a little square of tomato, and put them under a broiler just until the cheese melted nicely.

NOTES

Well, as I mentioned, my preliminary effort still needs work. First, the pesto was not a good idea as it was too assertive to work well with the other ingredients. In a future version, I think I might like to replace this with some blanched, finely chopped spinach. Also, I might try using whole cubes of pork belly rather than the ground mix and maybe top this with some sun-dried tomato and maybe some fine shreds of basil before adding the cheese.  The chopped meat was okay, actually, but a whole cube might add a nicer texture counterpoint to the crisp rind.

I’d be interested to hear suggestions from readers. Off hand, I’ve also been thinking of a much more Asian rendition, perhaps with basil and lemongrass and other appropriate flavorings…

Crackling Bites 1B

 

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oh, my husband would love this! Your toppings sound delicious. Very clever!

    June 8, 2015
  2. ohsohappy #

    Oh, I do enjoy pork rinds! Especially fresh ones. These look delectable! Perfectly brown and beautiful. What about a tender piece of teriyaki pork shoulder with a drizzle of sauce and a sprinkle of minced green onion and/or cilantro.

    June 8, 2015
  3. gretchen sutton #

    This was an excellent idea, and I love your garnish of a slice of thai chile– deep fry your pork skins, and all should be well. A wonderful idea, nice canape, very creative.

    June 9, 2015
  4. It looks great, and is a nice gluten free alternative for crackers. If pesto was too assertive, than sundried tomatoes may be as well. Perhaps some dried fruit like apricots would work? The asian version is a good idea, with garlic and fivespice.

    June 10, 2015
  5. John,
    My best suggestion would have to be to not bother with anything on the crackling except a bit of salt. serve it to me with a few stiff gins and I would be (temporarily) in heaven.
    Great experiment all the same.
    Best,
    Conor

    June 11, 2015

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