Twice-Cooked Pork Belly, Red Fresnos, Pineapple, Thai Basil, Fennel
Liholiho Yacht Club
Season meat side of pork belly liberally with salt only. Let come to room temperature while salt dissolves. Place in a high-sided ovenproof braising pan. There should not be too much room around belly.
Bring stock, 2 cups rice wine, lemongrass, sliced ginger, star anise, cinnamon, garlic and stems to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour, until all flavors are infused. Strain and pour liquid over pork belly. Belly should be at least three-quarters submerged. (If it's fully covered, that's okay too.) Place parchment paper over top and then tightly seal pan with foil. Put in a 325-degree F convection oven and cook for 2 1/2 hours, or until thickest part is tender when pierced with a knife.
Let belly cool in liquid for a couple hours. Remove belly from liquid and let cool in refrigerator overnight. Strain liquid, skim fat and chill overnight as well. Next day, fat will have separated and solidified, and you can remove it easily with your hands.
Heat braising liquid and reserve warm to make sauce.
Portion pork belly into 4 pieces. Heat oil in an ovenproof sauté pan that's large enough to contain all belly pieces. When oil is almost at smoking point, add belly skin-side down. Be careful because skin will pop and spatter.
When it starts to brown, put pan into a 375-degree F oven and let continue to cook skin-side down for about 20 minutes. When belly skin is crispy and heated through, take out of oven and remove from pan. Allow to rest skin-side up while preparing sauce. Remove most of oil from pan and put pan back on heat over medium-high.
In same pan pork belly was seared in, sauté pineapple, scallion, diced ginger and chile. Deglaze with remaining rice wine. Add reserved braising liquid (2 to 3 cups) and brown sugar and reduce. Adjust seasoning with brown sugar and tamari.
To serve, place a piece of pork belly on plate and pour over pineapple sauce. Top with mound of fennel salad.