Crispy pork belly salad. Salad. See that last word there, that’s why I can trick myself into thinking this is healthy. This is the kind of salad that could turn me into one of those people who is content with ordering a salad for dinner and not getting cranky 20 minutes later because you’re still hungry and everyone else was smart and ordered real food. Because super crunchy, salty, juicy pork belly is real food. It is not however healthy, but that’s a different story and really not the point here.
But healthy or not, its February I assume most of those new years resolutions have fallen by the way side anyway, this is one of the best salads that will have no problem satisfying you as your meal. It’s got salty pork mixed with fresh greens, bright herbs, crunchy peanuts, and perfectly rich, spicy dressing to top it all off.
The only thing that can make this salad better is the glass of Riesling you are going to want to have with it. Pick one that isn’t totally dry because that little bit of residual sugar, while not actually sweet, will help the calm down some of the spice from the dressing. Riesling is also perfect with salty, fatty meats so it was basically made for pork belly. And its bright acidity, part of what helps it not come off as sweet even though there is residual sugar in the wine, is a lovely compliment to the brighter ingredients in the salad.
Adapted from What Katie Ate
- 2 lbs pork belly
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil, for rubbing
- 2-3 scallions, trimmed and finely sliced
- 1 Fresno chili + 1/2 for dressing, seeds removed and thinly sliced
- ½ large cucumber, chopped into bite size pieces
- Handful of mint leaves, torn
- 1 10oz bag salad mix
- ½ cup roasted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 3 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 475°F
Place the pork belly skin side up and pat dry with a paper towel. Using a sharp knife score the skin at half inch intervals, making sure not to cut all the way into the meat. Rub 2 ½ teaspoons sea salt over the skin, making sure it covers the surface and gets into the grooves you have created. Flip the meat over and coat the back side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place the pork in a roasting dish skin side up and cook for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. After the first half hour turn the oven down to 400°F and cook for another 2 hours. By this time you should have a crackling that is golden brown and hard. If it hasn’t reached that stage yet you can turn the oven up slightly to 425°F and let it cook for another 15 minutes. Once ready remove the pork from the oven and transfer to a cutting board to rest and cool. When cooled completely cut along your score lines into strips and then cut each strip into bite size cubes.
To make the salad toss the scallions, 1 Fresno chili, the cucumber, mint leaves, salad mix and peanuts in a large bowl.
To make the dressing whisk together the rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, ½ a Fresno chili and salt and pepper to taste until well combined.
Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Then mix in the cubes of pork belly and toss again. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.