After going on a Parts Unknown marathon last month, I re-read Kitchen Confidential. Toward the end of the book, Anthony Bourdain advices home cooks on how to give dishes a professional look. Metal rings to give plated food height, chiffonaded parsley, etcetera, etcetera.
I thought about that while preparing lunch yesterday. I never really learned to use metal rings properly (I often use them as cookie cutters) but a sprinkling of fresh herbs has become quite a standard at home since we grow herbs in the garden so we have a constant supply. I thought about how height can give plated food a kind of panache so I decided that lunch would be a stack of rice, meat and poached egg surrounded by colorful vegetables in various shapes and textures. This was the result.
It begins with pork braised in balsamic vinegar, sugar syrup, salt and pepper… The recipe is given below.
For the buttered vegetables, just cut whatever vegetables you like, cook in butter with salt, pepper and fresh herbs.
If you want poached eggs, see the post on how to poach eggs.
- 4 slices of pork belly, about half an inch thick
- salt and pepper
- 4 tbsps. of balsamic vinegar
- 4 tbsps. of simple syrup (that's equal amounts of water and sugar boiled together)
- Heat a thick bottomed frying pan then brush with a little oil. Lay the pork belly slices side by side and cook over very high heat until browned on both sides.
- Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper.
- Pour in the balsamic vinegar and simple syrup. Stir.
- Add about a quarter cup of water.
- Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the pork is done and the liquid is almost dry.
To assemble the dish, use a shallow ramekin to mold the rice.
Arrange two pieces of pork on top of the rice. Place a poached egg on top of the meat.
Spoon the buttered vegetables around meat and rice. Sprinkle chopped parsley over everything. Serve.