In our restaurant we make pork belly every week. It was actually supposed to be on the menu for a short while, but, due to its huge success, it was never removed. It is a perfect ‘hangover cure’ on a Saturday morning: briefly bake the bacon slices in a hot oven, until the fat is crispy. Serve on bread with (fresh) horseradish sauce or fresh potato salad.
We use an entire pork belly, but you can also easily make it at home with a smaller bacon cut.
Once laid in salt and baked, you can keep the bacon in the refrigerator up to two weeks.
The recipe below is for four people.
Score the fat on the pork belly with a sharp knife to make an attractive check pattern. Rub the entire piece with salt and fennel. This is a rough job, do not skimp on the ingredients. Press bay leaves into the grooves and inside the meat. Wrap in a clean dish towel, place in a suitable dish in the refrigerator and cover with a heavy object. Leave to stand for 24 hours, but two days is even better. By processing it in this way, the meat acquires flavour, but the salt also extracts moisture from the meat, which will make the pork crispier later.
Heat the oven to 170°C (340°F/Gas 3), place the pork belly in a baking tin and bake for at least one hour in the oven, or until the top is crispy and golden brown and the meat is fully cooked.
In the meantime, make the horseradish sauce: peel the horseradish with a vegetable peeler and grate it on a fine grater.
Or better still, use a food processor as fresh horseradish is very sharp and will make your eyes water! Once blended with the other ingredients the fumes will disappear. Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with the meat.
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