Roast Pork Belly

roasted pork belly

March 29th, 2012

I had dinner at Amaia’s house last week – she roasted an amazing Pork Belly

sprats - angel fisheries

and I cooked some Sprats (which I’d bought from Angel Fisheries that morning) as a  starter. Sprats are an oily fish (so very good for you) and their stocks are plentiful.

floured sprats

Sprats are very simple to prepare – they just need a wash and a coating of seasoned flour. It’s not necessary to gut these little fish, though you can if you wish.

frying sprats

I fry them in very hot olive oil (it’s ready when it starts to smoke) – woks are quite convenient for this type of deep frying. You can cook as many at a time, as you can get into the pan. Do make sure they are all immersed in the oil.

fried sprats

These fish cook in a couple of minutes – if in doubt, cut one open and have a look to see if it’s done all the way through. I eat the whole fish, with a sprinkle of seasoning and a squeeze of fresh lemon. The bones are very soft and you can eat the head – cut it off if you don’t fancy it.

sliced pork belly

Amaia marinated the meat side of the Pork Belly in an olive oil and herb mixture (I believe she blended a whole head of peeled garlic with rosemary, thyme and oil) and let the underside sit in the marinade overnight. She roasted the pork, in the marinade (being careful not to get it on the crackling side), initially at a high temperature, to enable the skin to blister, before turning the oven down to about 175º C for a couple of hours. The pork had a wonderful herb and garlic flavour!

roast potatoes

The meat came with some amazing roast potatoes, dusted in pimentón, before going into the oven. This gave them a slightly hot smokey flavour.

chilli jelly

Continuing the hot theme we had a beautiful home made chilli jelly condiment. I don’t have the recipe for this, but a web search brought up a few ideas:

Chilli Jam by Nigella Lawson and Chilli Jelly by The Chilli King sound promising.

celeriac salad

Amaia made three salads – my favourite was the above celeriac salad containing lentils, hazelnuts and mint.

aubergine salad

… the aubergine salad, with tomato and coriander came a close second,

green salad with radishes

followed by a green salad with radishes.


We finished the dinner with a cheese course.

green's unpasteurised cheddar

I’d been at the Islington Farmers’ Market in the morning and found the Green’s of Glastonbury cheese stall. Their unpasteurised cheddar is outstanding with a delicious tang. All their cheeses looks quite plain, but I urge you to try them if you come across their market stall – looks can be deceptive and this is serious cheese that demands respect! I was quite blown away by the cheddar when I first tried it (at a previous dinner party, I discovered that it goes very well with Compté). I believe Waitrose stock some of Green’s cheeses.

wealden goats cheese

I bought a couple of goats cheeses from the Nut Knowle Farm stall. The Wealden (middle upper right), a strong and spicy crottin type cheese has a sharpness which reminded me a little of Cabrales from Asturias in Spain.

wealdway goats cheese

…and the Wealdway mature log (above right), coated in charcoal with a white felt, has a strong, mature flavour .

About Mad Dog
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26 Responses to Roast Pork Belly

  1. ChgoJohn says:

    This is a fantastic post, MD. That opening shot of the pork belly is incredible! I cannot find a piece of meat like that and have to order it from my butcher. Seeing it here, I can’t put off ordering one much longer. Sprats remind me of a fresh-water fish, smelt, that are well-known throughout the Great Lakes region. In a few weeks, their spawning runs will occur in streams and riverlets that feed the Great Lakes. They’re cooked and served just as you did the sprats and I imagine both are equally good tasting — a Springtime treat.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks John – butchers shops are in decline, but a good one would have whole pork bellies for sale here, straight from the walk in fridge 😉

  2. Delicious flavours from beginning to end – not a false move anywhere – top.

  3. zestybeandog says:

    What a feast! I would love to try all of that!!!

  4. So, so cruel. I may have to report you to the Cruelty to People Who Aren´t Invited To Your Dinner Parties Society..or maybe Amaia is to blame?! Fabulous meal, I loved every bit of it from a distance), will have to try doing my pork belly like that next time and the sprats are pretty much how we do our fried boquerones. Now, that cheese. Am sincerely very jealous and if I had been there would not have been able to go to bed if there had been any leftovers knowing it was in the fridge waiting to be eaten 😉

  5. What an amazing meal! The pork belly looks and sounds mouth-watering and the goats’ cheeses especially sound interesting.

  6. Audrey Evermore says:

    Cool … well done to Amaia…has the Mad dog found a Kitchen Kat , what a lovely team you make. … I am wondering why it is important to keep the marinade away from the crackling side of the pork belly? The lovely salads must be a first for the Mad Dog TV Dinner blog… summer is on its way for sure … hooray !

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Audrey! If you get the marinade on the crackling side it won’t crackle. If you look hard you might find an occasional salad here 😉

      • Audrey Evermore says:

        ah! that explains so much … I always marinade all over …
        Could you tell me what ‘yuzu’ is please … zestybeandog seems to use it in everything, even in cocktails!
        I guess an \occasional salad’ lives on an ‘occasional table’.

  7. Mad Dog says:

    Yuzu is a citrus fruit from East Asia, believed to be a hybrid of sour mandarin and lchang papeda. It tastes tart – like grapefruit with mandarin orange. The juice is used in Japanese cuisine in place of lemon and in Korean cuisine as a syrup mixed with honey. You can buy the juice and syrup in London’s Asian and Japanese shops.

  8. Great post MD!
    I have to try your recipe for roast potatoes, amazing!!! 😉

  9. Karen says:

    Thank looks like it was a veritable feast!

  10. You have some sinful drippings on your hands!

  11. peasepudding says:

    I really miss sardines here in NZ but now I really should hunt round for something similar to sprats

    • Mad Dog says:

      Wow I’d never considered that you can’t get sardines down under! I hope you find some other small and delicious fish swimming in the Southwestern Pacific 😉

  12. Pingback: Sous-Vide Barbecue | Mad Dog TV Dinners

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