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