LUKE HINES PERFECT CRISPY PORK BELLY WITH BROCCOLINI, APPLE AND MINT SALAD
If there is one thing that I have learned over my years of cooking it is that perfectly cooked, crispy pork belly is the ultimate crowd pleaser. And I have good news for you – getting crispy crackling every time is easier than you might think! Follow my trusty technique below for the best crackle of your life.
1 x 1 kg piece of pork belly, skin on, scored
630 g (2 cups) coarse rock salt, plus extra if needed
125 ml (1⁄2 cup) filtered water
125 ml (1⁄2 cup) coconut aminos
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey or pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Broccolini, apple and mint salad
10 broccolini florets, stems removed
125 ml (1⁄2 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons coconut milk
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 tablespoons tahini
juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 bunch mint, leaves picked
4 granny smith apples, cored and thinly sliced into discs
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a roasting tin with baking paper.
To make the marinade, mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Pour the marinade into the prepared roasting tin, then place the pork belly, flesh-side down, on top. Using paper towel, pat the skin dry. If your belly is not sitting evenly in the tin, use some rolled-up foil to level it out so the skin is level and flat. Fill the pan with water to about 2 cm below the pork skin, then carefully pour the salt over the skin, spreading it all the way to the edges, to form a thick layer. (You want to be sure the skin is not visible, so add a little extra salt if necessary – it will turn into a solid crust during cooking.)
Carefully transfer the tin to the oven, being careful not to wet the pork skin, and roast for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully lift the solid salt crust off the skin, using a pastry brush to remove any stray granules. Increase the oven temperature to 240°C, return the pork to the oven and cook for a further 30–40 minutes, or until the skin has puffed up and crisped to a lovely crackling. You can also place the pork under a hot grill for a few minutes to crisp up the skin even further if necessary.
While the pork is cooking, make the broccolini, apple and mint salad. Heat a barbecue grill or chargrill pan to medium–high. Coat the broccolini with one-quarter of the olive oil and season well with salt, then transfer to the barbecue or chargrill pan and cook for 4–5 minutes, or until charred and tender. Set aside.
Combine the remaining olive oil, coconut milk, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and chilli flakes in a bowl and whisk to make a dressing.
Remove the cooked pork belly from the oven and transfer to a board or tray, then use a cleaver or large sharp knife to cut it into chunks. Arrange the broccolini, mint and apple slices in a serving bowl, drizzle over the dressing and toss to coat. Serve alongside the pork belly.