Crackling Pork Belly Croutons
We love foods that originate from the Middle East, India, and Asia, as they are often so astonishing in flavor. This dip has been described as “better than hummus” and is derived from a classic Middle Eastern dip called Muhummara. This one uses a fig fruit paste instead of the pomegranate molasses that is traditionally used for this dish, because the molasses may not be readily available everywhere. Serve the dip with fresh veggies or toasted pita. It can also be used as a spread on sandwiches or as a base for pizzas!
MAKES 3 CUPS 1 cup raw walnuts Himalayan salt, coarsely ground, to taste 1 cup roasted red peppers from jar, drained ¼ cup breadcrumbs ½ cup yellow onion, cut into large pieces 4-5 medium garlic cloves 3 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons fig fruit paste 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon paprika 3 tablespoons olive oil ¼ cup Kalamata olives for garnish (optional) Pita, oven toasted and brushed with olive oil, for serving
Toast nuts in a medium skillet over low-medium heat, adding salt to taste throughout the process, until the nuts are golden brown and fragrant. Combine toasted walnuts and remaining ingredients (excluding olives and pita points) in food processor. Pulse until mixture reaches a uniform consistency. Pour dip into a serving bowl. Top with olives and serve with toasted pita. Source: For The Love Of Food And Yoga: A Celebration of Mindful Eating and Being by Liz Price-Kellogg and Kristen Taylor Reprinted with permission from Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. Slightly crunchy and salty, these crackling croutons will have you wanting to eat them by the handful. Although traditional croutons are made with bread, these turn pork belly into savory bites of deliciousness. Add a heaping spoonful to classic Caesar salad or tomato basil soup, or watch them quickly disappear straight from the pan!
MAKES 4 CUPS 2 pounds pork belly 2½ teaspoons sea salt 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Cut the pork belly into ½-inch cubes. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and garlic over the cubes, tossing together so that all sides are evenly seasoned. Place in a sealable bag and then in the refrigerator to marinate for 8 hours (or overnight). When you are ready to cook, remove the pork belly from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature for 20 minutes. Warm a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet to medium heat. Place the pork belly in the skillet, evenly arranging so that all of it touches the heat. You may have to work in batches, depending on the size of your skillet. Sear for 3 minutes without touching, then flip to the other side and continue searing for an additional 3 minutes. Give the pork belly a stir and continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to ensure that all sides are golden brown. Remove the croutons with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel. If you are making the herbed croutons, toss in the herbs while the pork belly is still warm. Use as needed and store remaining croutons in the refrigerator. Source: All-American Paleo Table: Classic Homestyle Cooking from a Grain-Free Perspective by Caroline Potter. Reprinted with permission from Page Street Publishing Copyright 2015.
PRO TIPS: •Croutons are best served immediately, because that is when they are the crunchiest. If you are storing extras in the refrigerator, lightly reheat in a skillet or the oven to make them crisp. •For herbed croutons, add: ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped ½ teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped