Basque Stage Candidate Post: Braised Pork Belly and Calamari with a Blood-Ink Sauce

This is a new recipe I’ve came up with for my application for the Basque Stage and Sammic Rising Star Scholarship.

IMG_5761

This is a dish that has come together after going to my family Christmas party. I am part of a huge Filipino family and on Christmas, instead of having an extravagant Christmas dinner with the usual suspects as roasted turkey and mashed potatoes, we enjoy a huge table spread of traditional Filipino food. One of my favorites being, Dinuguan. For those who are not familiar, Dinuguan is a stew made of pork (usually including intestines) cooked in its own blood with vinegar and peppers. It is also known as ‘chocolate rice’ or ‘black rice’ too make it sound a little more appetizing to the audience.

I wanted to put a twist on the traditional dish, so I have decided to combine it with a very traditional Spanish dish, calamares en su tinta, calamari in its own ink. With the huge Spanish influence in Filipino culture, these two dishes come together to make something that just makes sense.

My interpretation of this dish has pork belly that has been braised with sherry vinegar and stock. The sauce is then combined with the pork blood to make the infamous lip-puckering and savory sauce. I incorporate the squid ink into the sauce too help deepen the black color of a sauce and also to add another depth of flavor (umami) to the vinegary sauce. I then sautéed the calamari and toss it in a simple olive oil and garlic vinaigrette. The calamari adds a great textural contrast to the fatty and rich pork belly. Garnish it with a foam of garlicky alioli and have substitute piparras peppers instead of thai chilies to help balance with the richness of the sauce and the pork.

Braised Pork Belly and Calamari with a Blood-Ink Sauce, Piparras peppers, and Alioli Foam

IMG_5203

Mise en place!

Sear pork belly until brown on each side and add to pot with carrots, onions, garlic, sherry vinegar and stock. Braise at low temp until tender. Remove pork belly and strain liquid and reserve.

pbelly

Blend pork blood so it keeps from coagulating in the stew.

IMG_5281

Sauté Carrots and onions until tender and add squid ink. Cook for a minute and then add pork blood and cook for another minute. Add braising liquid and let sauce cook down for an hour to let flavors develop. Purée until smooth and then pass through a sieve.

bloodink

Clean calamari. Score the inside of each calamari. (A lot more disgusting then I was expecting!)

squid

Sear calamari on high heat, weighing it down with a pan pressed on top, until cooked through. Slice into smaller pieces and then toss in a marinade of olive oil, garlic, salt, and parsley.

Sear braised pork belly until crispy and warm through.

sear

Place steamed rice on plate with the blood-ink sauce. Place pork belly and Calamari over the sauce and garnish with aioli foam, pippara peppers, and parsley oil.

IMG_5767 IMG_5759

This dish is a representation of my love for Spanish and Filipino cuisine. I am really happy with the outcome of this dish. The blood-ink sauce had all of the characteristics of the flavors of Dinuguan but with the added squid ink, it had brought another dimension to the sauce that just enhanced the sauce.  The pork belly had a vinegary kick to it that really balanced it out with the fattiness of the cut and paired perfectly with the tender squid. Overall, I think that this is a recipe that I will have to keep in my repertoire!

-Justin

Advertisements

Basque Stage Candidate Post: Scallop and Pork Belly Bocadillo w/ Popcorn Revuelto

So this dish I decided to do was conceived last minute as I was actually planning on doing a completely different dish for the past week or so for my Basque Stage Candidate Post. It wasn’t unti Tuesday morning that l I picked up my copy of the latest Lucky Peach, David Chang’s, the face behind Momofuku, quarterly journal of food writing. He had this little section where there was a recipe for a little concoction called “popcorn grits”. This had caught my attention and just had my mind racing instantly. For some reason, one of the first thoughts that came into my mind was revuelto. Revuelto is a probably one of my favorite preparation of eggs that I had discovered at The Harvest Vine (expect an All About Eggs! post about revuelto in the near future!). Revuelto is essentially softly scrambled eggs. I thought that popcorn grits would make for a perfect combination to the rich and creamy eggs, texturally and flavor wise. Then it dawned on me that I softly scrambled eggs weren’t going to be enough. I needed something more. Did it need a seafood? Or a meat? Or maybe both!? Then I thought about a special dish that my chef does every once in a while for special guests. He does a little play off of ‘bocadillos’ (Spanish for sandwiches) where he sandwiches a seared piece of seared foie gras between a sliced seared scallop. I thought that the scallop would go perfect with my popcorn revuelto but the foie gras to be a little over the top… Enter the pork belly…. the pork belly would give the dish the meatiness that it needs so I decided to replace it instead of the foie (I know, crazy right?). And just for fun, I thought I’d reincorporate popcorn as a crunch garnish, so I flavored it with Spanish smoked paprika and Piment d’ espelette. Piment d’ espelette is probably once of my favorite spices as it adds a real nice kick to anything you add it too. So to get back on track, here is my Basque Stage Candidate Post!

Scallop and Pork Belly Bocadillo w/ Popcorn Revuelto

Ingredient

  • Olive Oil
  • Popcorn Kernals
  • Heavy Cream
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Scallops
  • Braised Pork Belly

             Garnish

  • Reserved Popped Popcorn
  • Piment  d’ espelette
  • Pimenton Dulce

Procedure

Combine the oil and popcorn kernals in a large pot and set over high heat. Once the oil starts sizzling, cover the pot and lower the heat to medium.

Once the kernals start popping, make sure to shake the pot vigorously to make sure none of the popcorn burns. Once the popping starts to slow down drastically, take off heat and leave cover on until the pops stop.

Reserve atleast a cup of popcorn for the garnish. For the Garnish, toss together melted butter, popcorn, Piment d’ espelette, and Pimenton Dulce until covered evenly.

Heat up the milk, cream, and butter in a pan over medium heat. Once the mixture comes up to a simmer, add 1/3 of the popcorn and cook for about a minute. strain the liquid through a medium-meshed strainer (it’s important not to use a fine mesh strainer because you want to be able to push through the popcorn)

Once the liquid is strained, scrap the popcorn against the strainer, pushing through a popcorn-like puree (the popcorn ‘grits’). Scrap off all popcorn from the bottom of the strainer and set it aside. Repeat these steps with the remaining 2/3 of  popcorn. After the last batch, save the popcorn-infused cream.

In a saute pan, reduce the popcorn-infused cream until the consistency is really tight and not to runny. Timing for this dish is crucial as you don’t want to under-reduce or over-reduce your cream because it is the biggest factor for keeping your eggs the right consistency. Add the egg and then remove the pan from the heat. The residual heat from the cream should be hot enough to cook the egg all the way through. With a spatula, mix the eggs and the cream until the eggs start to set. Mid-way, add your popcorn ‘grits’ and salt then continue to stir. The eggs will be done when they there is no longer any uncooked eggwhite and have gained some body to them. They should be creamy and hold some form, but you will definitely know if they are overcooked if any chunks of egg have formed.

In a separate pan, heat up oil on high until barely smoking. Add scallops and let sear until golden brown. Feel free to check the caramelization and move it to a hotter part of the pan if it needs more caramelizing. Right before you flip the scallops, add the sliced pork belly. Flip the scallop and then turn off the heat. Flip the pork belly and then finish with chopped parsley.

Place the popcorn revuelto on the plate. Slice scallops in half and place a slice of pork belly between each side of the scallop making a sandwhich. Place on top of popcorn revuelto and then garnish with the Espelette and Pimenton popcorn. Make pretty with parsley oil and some micro-greens then enjoy!

I am really happy with how this dish turned out. The flavor combinations all worked really work together and there were so many different textures that made this dish really fun to eat! Thanks for reading and hopefully you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed making it!

-Justin