ROAST RACK OF PORCELET WITH MAT­SU­TAKE AND UMEBOSHI

Canada’s 100 Best - - Column -

Serves 4

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

• • • • •

• • • • 1 skin-on rack of St-Canut pork

(or other top-qual­ity porcelet), about 1.5 kg (3½ lb), chine bone re­moved Salt, pep­per

50 ml (¼ cup) veg­etable oil 1 pack­age (200 g/7 oz) of pre­served umeboshi plums, rinsed, drained and pit­ted

450 g (1 lb) mat­su­take (or other top-qual­ity for­aged mush­rooms, like ceps)

3 tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, brunoise cut

125 ml (¼ cup) chicken stock

125 ml (¼ cup) whip­ping cream 1 tbsp cold but­ter

GAR­NISH:

12 shishito pep­pers

Fine olive oil

Sea salt

Shiso leaves (or any Ja­panese mi­cro­greens, like mizuna, daikon or tat­soi)

METHOD

Pre­heat oven to 160°C (325°F).

Rest pork on coun­ter­top for one hour. Sea­son gen­er­ously. Heat a large heavy-bot­tomed skil­let on medium. Add the oil, and when it shim­mers, sear the pork skin side down. Baste the bones to colour. Once the skin is bronzed and crisp, re­move the pork and drain the oil from the pan. Place a rack in the pan and put the pork on top, skin side up. Trans­fer to the oven un­til its in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture reaches 135°F (60°C)—45 to 60 min­utes. Set aside to rest un­der a tent of alu­minum foil for 20 min­utes.

Mean­while, mince the umeboshi into a paste, and set aside. Clean and trim the mush­rooms and halve them length­wise. Heat a skil­let on medium, add the olive oil, and cook the mush­rooms cut side down un­til lightly coloured—2 to 3 min­utes. Drain ex­cess oil, add the shal­lots and sweat for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and re­duce by half—about 1 minute. Add the cream and re­duce slightly. Stir in the cold but­ter. Taste, and ad­just sea­son­ings.

To fin­ish, heat a cast iron skil­let or grill pan on high heat, and blis­ter the pep­pers on all sides. Re­move when ten­der— about 2 min­utes—and toss with a driz­zle of olive oil and some sea salt. Ar­range mush­rooms and sauce at cen­tre of a warm serv­ing plat­ter. Carve the rack into sin­gle chops and ar­range them on top. Scat­ter pep­pers over the pork, gar­nish with shiso*, and serve with umeboshi as a condi­ment.

*Or try shiso pow­der: de­hy­drate shiso leaves in a de­hy­dra­tor or a low oven with door ajar, and pul­ver­ize.

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