Most people cringe when they hear those two words. Thankfully, I'm not most people.
I love... no... adore... no... CRAVE pork belly. In the past ten weeks, I have gone through almost eight pounds of it. I always roast it in the oven. Most times, I cut it into bite-size pieces, toss it with salt, black pepper, and crushed garlic. Throw it into a 400 degF oven. Roast until brown and crisp. Today, I kept the entire belly intact, scored the fat/skin side, rubbed it with a mix of freshly ground coriander seed, caraway seed, black pepper, minced garlic, and salt. Threw it into a 400 degF oven. Roasted until the spice mix intermingled with the fat layer to create a crisp skin. Let it rest out of the oven. Chopped it up. Serve.
It was heavenly. Especially with some black bean/olive stew on some hot white rice.
Mike tends to eat only the lean part of the pork belly. He pulls the fat off a piece and consumes the lean meat. He leaves the fat and rind for me to eat later. I find that funny because the whole point of pork belly is the fatty layer that separates the rind from the meat. It's the part that all true food lovers look for. It's the contrast of textures, mixed in with the flavors, that creates a harmony that makes every truly food-obsessed person weak in the knees.
I always know if I am in the presence of someone who is a true food lover. I'm not talking about someone who likes ordering the weird thing on the menu. Or eating at different restaurants. Or experimenting with the latest hip ingredient. I am talking about the type of person who would rather stay home to cook because nothing they can order can be better than what they can create right now. The type of person who can make a meal for one or 21 with the same passion. The type of person that never worries about balanced meals but has them anyway. They type of person who thinks that the cook's best utensil isn't in a drawer but at the end of his arms. The type of person who has their own personal way of cooking pork belly. And can't wait to share it with others.
That is a true food lover. Later.