Experiment: Pork Belly Appetizer

Pork Belly Appetizer 1

Today’s post actually features two permutations of an idea I am working with for a little appetizer dish (although it would also work as a larger plate offering as well). The inspiration for these experiments came from an appetizer called Pork Belly with Kumquat I had in Ottawa some time ago, and which I thought could be improved upon. I begin with chunks of pork belly roasted so as to produce a nice crisp skin (using my Perfect Roast Pork Crackling method) and, instead of using parsnip puree as a base, I have tried two other ways of preparing the vegetable. I also replaced the kumquat with a sauce based on cranberry…

Pork Belly Appetizer 2

Here is the sauce I prepared for this dish. The base is a can of cranberry jelly (the kind that makes the sucking noise when you slide it out onto a dish). I ‘melted’ it in a saucepan with some port, and then added sugar. I then let the sauce simmer for about an hour or so with a couple of cloves, two cardamom pods, and some slices of fresh ginger. Afterwards, I removed the spices and let the sauce cool for later use.

 

Pork Belly Appetizer 3

The very first picture shows the first parsnip permutation … Basically, I just baked some sticks of parsnip until just tender and then, when ready to make the appetizer, I quickly browned them in a little butter with some sugar. I then used them to make my ‘bed’ … This worked nicely but then I thought of making a sort of ‘pancake’ out of the parsnip instead.

Rather than doing a ‘Latke’ type affair (which was my first thought), I grated some parsnip and mixed it with beaten egg and a little flour, which I then baked to make the ‘pancake’ you see above.

 

Pork Belly Appetizer 4

I cut the pancake into sections and then fried them in butter. I used the sections as the bed for my pork belly and added the sauce. The presentation needs a bit of adjustment (my pork chunks were a bit top-heavy, and the parsnip slices could be trimmed a little more nicely), but the overall effect was really nice. Some apple in the parsnip would be nice, but generally, I was very pleased with the result.

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