Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm really torn: should we embrace spring or have one more go with the winter menu before things really start to warm up? Produce is so-so at the market, it could go either way. Sometimes when I feel this way, I compromise: something hearty balanced with something light, especially if the hearty bit is small! On the other hand, there are so many great spring dishes out there, grilled fish, butterflied open, served with a tangy brown butter fish and some sautéed greens!

First the heaver hitters. Next post the lighter side.

There's a braised pork belly dish I've been dying to try:

Braised Pork Belly (T. Colicchio):

-Salt and pepper the pork, and add it, fat side down, to the skillet. Cook until the skin is browned, about 15 minutes.

- Add the onion, carrots, celery, leek, and garlic to the skillet. Cook the vegetables about 20 minutes.

-Return the pork belly to the skillet, fat side up, and add stock (it should surround but not cover the meat). Bring the stock to a simmer, then transfer the skillet to the oven (350°F). Gently simmer the pork, uncovered, for 1 hour, then add another cup of stock. Continue cooking until the pork is fork tender --about 1 hour longer.

- Allow the pork to cool in the braising liquid. Remove the pork from the liquid and discard skin. Score the fat and then cut the pork into 4 equal pieces.

- Turn up the oven to 400°F. Strain the braising liquid. Return the liquid to the skillet, bring it to a simmer, and skim off the fat. Return pork, fat side up, to the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook, without basting, until the pork is heated through and the fat nicely browned, about 20 minutes.

A recipe I dreamed up for another dinner party that never happened:\

Uova da Raviolo (M. Leaveck):

- Roll out pasta into sheets

- Add a dollop of butternut squash, roasted, mashed and mixed with pancetta and aromatics (shallots, garlic, thyme, s/p)

- Depress a well into the filling and place the yolk of a quail egg into each.

- Cover with second sheet of pasta and cut ravioli and seal edges well

- Boil, then serve in a rich broth like sauce, like veal broth or similar.

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