Over the spring and summer we made a conscious effort to switch up our weekend rituals so we could make time to go out and do some serious city exploration. This usually meant that I would do my workouts early in the day rather than late in the afternoon, and we’d then take a walk down to the harbor and wander around for a few hours before inevitably getting a beer at Max’s and then heading to Whole Foods to pick up any incidentals we might need for dinner. (It helps that we no longer have the Food Network or the Cooking Channel to distract me into hate-watching them for hours, admittedly.) So while I’ll still take the time to flip through cookbooks, some days the inspiration doesn’t come by the time we want to leave so we’ll put our culinary fate into the hands of what’s available at the Teet or the Whole Foods and hope for the best.
The Teet has become a really solid grocery store for us, mainly because we can usually find everything we need and at pretty reasonable prices, but the layout doesn’t always jive well with sparking a dinner idea. Despite usually being busier, I can still get a spark a little more easily at Whole Foods, likely because they usually put the best seasonal produce front and center and arrange it in a very visually pleasing way. This was the case a few weeks ago when figs started popping up and I grabbed a box without immediately knowing what to do with it, but pretty soon we had the idea to pair them with pork belly and make a sauce that was based on Barcelona Wine Bar’s chorizo with sweet and sour figs tapa.
We’ve made it a couple of times now, and the first attempt is still, I think, the best one, because the second time around we reduced the sauce a little too much and added a little too much sugar and it became a too sweet and overpowered the figs. You still want that acidic kick of the vinegar to come through rather than try to turn it into a glaze, because that also helps cut the fattiness of the belly.
Pork Belly with Sweet and Sour Fresh Figs
Serves 4 as a tapas dish, or 2 as a more substantial dish
- 1 lb pork belly
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups fresh figs, stemmed and quartered
- 1/4 cup vermouth or sherry vinegar
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Olive oil, to finish
Mix the salt and sugar together and rub over the pork belly. Let it sit for at least an hour or two, and no more than six.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Roast the pork belly int the oven for about one and a half to two hours, and remove from the oven to let rest, then cut into slices.
Combine the vinegars and brown sugar into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until slightly reduced but not overly so. Keep an eye on it and taste it to make sure there is still a bit of acidity to the sauce. Arrange the pork belly and figs onto plates, and then finish with the sauce and a drizzle of olive oil, and serve immediately.