Saturday, June 18, 2011

Crackling perfection

A feature of this blog has been its obsessive revisiting of certain dishes - crackling, rice, cheesecakes - in a largely futile search for perfection. As the last crackling I made was perfect, I won't apologise for writing about it.

Frying was the answer. In my previous blog on the subject, I recommended grilling. But frying enables you to control the heat more easily, particularly because of the layer of fat in the pan.

I had braised slices of belly pork, for an hour and a half, in a broth flavoured with onion, juniper berries, and peppercorns. (The pork went into a salad.) At the end, I sliced off the rind, and let it dry.

I warmed just enough sunflower oil to give a thin layer in a heavy frying pan. On the lowest flame, I fried the pieces of rind, turning them frequently to prevent their burning. Until the water had vaporised, they crackled and bucked alarmingly. After about 15 minutes, they were crisp and golden; they shattered in the mouth like honeycomb.

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