This fun take on antipasti from Fat Rice chef Abraham Conlon pairs plenty of crisp, spicy pickled vegetables with meaty bites of pork belly and briny olives. It’s a great starter for a party—serve it with lots of crusty bread.
Slideshow: More Pickled Vegetables
1/2 pounds cauliflower, cored and cut into bite-size florets
2 to 3 medium carrots, thinly sliced (1 cup)
1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths (1 cup)
2 shallots, quartered lengthwise
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup Datu Puti (see Note) or unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
5 small dried hot chiles
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 1/2 pounds meaty pork belly, skin and some fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch
Kosher salt and pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup Portuguese white wine, such as Vinho Verde
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup mixed olives, preferably Portuguese
How to Make It
Step 1 make the pickles
In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower, carrots, cucumber, green beans, shallots and garlic with 1 tablespoon of salt. Let stand for 1 hour. Rinse the vegetables and squeeze gently to remove excess water.
In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, chiles, bay leaves, coriander and cumin with 1 cup of water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove from the heat and add the vegetables. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.
Step 3 make the pork
Season the pork belly with salt and pepper. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the pork and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat starts to render and the meat is browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Carefully add the wine and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the pork is very tender, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a serving bowl. Discard the fat and cooking liquid.
Drain the pickled vegetables, reserving 1/4 cup of the brine; discard the chiles and bay leaves. Add the drained pickled vegetables to the pork. In a small bowl, whisk the reserved pickling liquid with the mustard, then stir the mixture into the pork and vegetables along with the olives. Mix well and serve.
The drained pickled vegetables can be refrigerated for 2 days.
Datu Puti is Filipino cane vinegar. It's available from amazon.com.
Look for a Portuguese white that has enough weight and texture to stand up to the pork belly and enough mineralogy to bring out the best in the pickled vegetables.
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