Recipe of the Month: Braised Pork Belly with Watermelon Mint Salad & Ponzu Sauce

From Chef Charles Cho of B.E.S. (Boutique Eat Shop) in New York City, this vibrant, Asian-inflected dish balances rich, salty pork belly, sweet, cooling watermelon and refreshing mint.


Published:

For Pork

2 pounds Berkshire pork belly
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped onions
1 bunch of thyme
1 bunch of cilantro
4 bay leaves
¼ cup salt
2 tablespoons black peppercorns

For Watermelon Mint Salad

1 cup of ½-inch cubes of seedless watermelon
2 tablespoons chiffonade of mint
pinch of sea salt
pinch of white pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons saba (or balsamic vinegar)

To prepare the pork:

Rinse pork belly and pat dry with a paper towel. Heat a pot with a bit of vegetable oil. Sear each side of pork belly and add remaining ingredients to pot. Cover with water completely and bring to a boil, then cover and turn off heat. Place pot in oven at 300°F for 4 hours. Remove pork belly from the pot with a slotted spoon and refrigerate for 24 hours or until completely cool and firm. Once firm, cut 1/3-inch slices from the skin side to the meat side in uniform strips and reserve.

To make the watermelon salad:

Toss all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate.

To Finish:

Lay sliced pork belly flat on a sheet pan. Brush the sweet Ponzu sauce on one side of the pork and cook in an oven at 400°F for 5–7 min. Remove from oven. Spoon a tablespoon of blueberry compote on one side of plate and drag spoon across. Place watermelon salad where spoon ended. Place hot pork belly on plate and garnish with a bit of cilantro; drizzle any remaining Ponzu sauce over pork.

Wine recommendation:

This summer-friendly dish calls for a refreshing, fruit-forward and fragrant white like Kim Crawford’s Marlborough 2010 Sauvignon Blanc or an easy-drinking sangria, like the Summer Punch Sangria from B.E.S. packed with brandy-soaked berries.

For Sweet Ponzu sauce:

½ cup Ponzu
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 seeded jalapeños (small dice)

In a small pot add Ponzu, brown sugar and jalapeños. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 min. Take off of heat and cool. Brush the sauce on one side of the sliced pork before cooking in oven.

For Blueberry Compote:

1 cup blueberries
¼ cup granulated sugar

For watermelon salad:

1 cup of  ½ inch by ½inch squares of seedless watermelon
2 tablespoons mint chiffonade
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of white pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons saba (or substitute balsamic vinegar)

Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture has slightly thickened, take off of heat and cool. Drag a tablespoonful of blueberry compote from one side of the plate to the other. Plate pork on top.

B.E.S.(T) Summer Punch Sangria recipe:

5 ounces red or white wine
1ounce Triple Sec
Splash of lime juice
Splash of lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce Brandy
2 spoonfuls mixed berries

Combine all ingredients, stir and serve in wine glass or in a pitcher.

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Reader Comments:
May 6, 2011 11:59 am
 Posted by  babs919

Hi could you please post the complete recipe for this dish or let me know where to locate the step that involves the ponzu sauce? Is the chef just using jarred or making his own? How much?
thanks

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