Who doesn’t love a solid crowd pleaser–a way to make mouths happy and wanting more? This dish from the New Orleans Food and Wine Experience was one of my favorites at the Grand Tasting. The pairing of crispy, tender and salty pork belly with watermelon makes for a luscious bite and reminds me of when I was younger (and still ignorant of the beauty of salt in all its forms). Summer days when my grandmother reached for plain table salt to sprinkle on her watermelon slice, I was intrigued yet found this act both cruel and unusual. Salt on melon, I thought. Little did I know that my grandmother knew how salt heightens the sweetness of it all. I think she would have approved of this recipe for Crispy Pork Belly with Watermelon by Chef Gregg Zeringue of the Green Bar at the Westin Canal Place. Photo courtesy of Romney Caruso.
Crispy Pork Belly and Watermelon
Yield: 8 | Total time: 13 hours 15 min
This recipe takes very little prep time but does call for slow and low cooking. Your patience will be rewarded with tender, juicy belly that's delicious with watermelon, or slipped into a steamed bun with a slice of pickled cucumber à la Momofuku.
FOR SOY-HOISIN DRESSING:
- 2 ounces soy sauce
- 2 ounces sesame oil
- 1 ounce hoisin sauce
- 1 ounce Sprite
- 1/2 ounce fish sauce
- 1/2 ounce lime juice
- 1/2 ounce Sriracha
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
FOR PORK BELLY:
- 12 ounces pork belly
- 2 cups water
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
- 2 whole star anise
- 2 cups canola oil
- 8 ounces fresh watermelon, cut into 1-ounce cubes
- Garnishes: fresh cilantro, julienne of carrot and Daikon radish
- Combine ingredients for Soy-Hoisin Dressing and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 200°. Place pork belly in a deep baking dish. Combine water, onions, carrots, star anise and garlic in a bowl; pour over pork belly. Cover with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Braise for 13 hours.
- Remove pork belly from pan, discarding vegetables and spices. Press the belly between two sheet pans and chill for four hours or until firm.
- Heat canola oil to about 325°. Cut pork belly into 1-ounce cubes and deep fry until crispy and golden.
- Toss pork belly cubes in Soy-Hoisin Dressing and serve with chilled watermelon cubes.
Date Published: June 6, 2012
All recipes have been tested by the KimSunée.com Test Kitchens unless otherwise noted.
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First of all, I love, love Sriracha sauce on everything from fried egg sandwiches to noodle soups, stirred into cabbage slaws and squirted on plain roast chicken. And Maldon flakes for melon and anything else you need to sprinkle salt on, including foods fresh out of the fryer, chocolate chip cookies... :