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Dinner Tonight: Pork Belly BLT with Cherry Tomatoes

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Let's say you want a BLT, except it's not quite peak tomato season and you only have a slab of raw pork belly, not bacon. That's the terrible dilemma I faced this week when I was struck with an uncontrollable urge for a BLT, but without all the ingredients to execute it flawlessly. Was that going to stop me? Of course not. I just had to get creative.

While I lacked big red tomatoes to slice, I was flush with little cherry ones. Instead of leaving them whole, I took a trick from Kenji's recent pico de gallo post: the small tomatoes are chopped, tossed with salt, and left in a colander for 20 minutes. Water is drawn out and they intensify in flavor.

Any dreams of thick slabs of succulent pork belly disappeared once I realized how long it would take to render all that fat. I didn't have three hours to dedicate to the slow roasting process. Fortunately, I remembered that I've used pork belly in some quick stir-fry recipes before. All I needed to do was slice the pork belly very thin and cook it until well browned.

The result is an amped up BLT experience, one that feels a little saltier and more unhinged. It's not necessarily better, but the mix of textures provides a different experience for BLT aficionados like me.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is the editor of Serious Eats: Chicago. He loves tacos and spicy food. You can follow him as @nickdk on Twitter.

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