Tomas Curi
Credit: Courtesy of Daniel Luke Holton

Tomas Curi is passionate about three things: jellyfish tattoos, pork, and Corsino, his restaurant. His recipe relies on the ultra-fatty belly of a mangalista pig, which was originally bred for its lard before the invention of synthetic lubricants. The dish contrasts the fattiness and unctuousness with a crispy skin and side of acidic bitter greens. "It's kind of like the same sensation you get with you eat a Kit Kat," he says. "There's that crunch, then there's richness, then there's a little bit of savory in there too. And the sweetness too from the actually braising. So if you want to call it a pork candy bar, you could."

Crispy Braised Mangalitsa Belly with Bitter Greens and Citrus

Ingredients (Yields 6 servings)

  • ½ cup mustard seeds
  • 1 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 ¼” piece of pork belly, the meatier the better, skin-on
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • Olive oil
  • 8 cups of bitter greens, such as dandelion, mustard, radicchio
  • Lemon zest, for garnish

Steps:

1. In a saucepan, combine mustard seeds and sherry vinegar. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.

2. Clean belly of all sinew and excess fat; it should be nice and smooth. Aggressively salt and pepper it. Let it sit at room temperature until it starts weeping, about 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 300°F. Cut oranges and lemons into ½” slices and reserve.

4. Place belly, skin-side up, in an ovensafe pan just barely big enough for it. Add enough olive oil to cover it by ½” and the citrus. Place in oven uncovered and cook for about 3 hours or until tender. (The citrus will caramelize and turn brown. That’s okay.) Remove belly from the oil and let it rest, for about 30 minutes. Then, place in another shallow pan, skin-side up, and crank the oven up to 500°F. Cook the belly in the oven until the skin starts to blister and become crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven, let it cool a little, and cut into portion sizes.

5 Saute the greens in olive oil over high heat until they wilt, about 1–2 minutes, remove from heat, and add a spoonful of the mustard and sherry mix. Plate the greens, place a piece of belly (best if warm, not super hot) on top, and drizzle with the mustard-sherry mix. Grate zest of lemon on top to garnish.