Roast Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad

Roast Pork Belly Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad is the perfect balance of apple crisp, crackling crunch, melting meat, sweet walnuts and peppery dressing

Roast Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad

My second favourite food is salad. My first is cake (obv). I eat at least a salad a day, most of the time two and it’s usually salad for breakfast round my way.

I have been writing a lot on this blog and in my newsletter about how much street food I have been enjoying recently, at Dalston Street Feast, Broadway Market, Kerb at Kings Cross and even our very own Ally Pally farmers’ market but one of my main gripes is the lack of vegetables on offer to accompany these amazing foods. Duck confit, Korean barbecue, haggis and soft shell crab. Love ‘em. But why must they all be stuffed into buns? All they need to do is chop up a bit of cucumber, iceberg and tomato, if nothing else, and offer that as an alternative accompaniment, I’m sure they would double their appeal. I have spoken to a few people recently who simply can’t get invested in the street food scene due to the dearth of healthy options. Not all of us can eat burgers and melted cheese all weekend and get away with it. Especially if we are scarfing down cakes for the rest of the week (ahem).

Roast Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad

I have been thinking about starting a market stall for a while and I have to say it was a big toss up between cakes and doing street food type grilled meat and salads. I love cake, it is my soul mate, I think about it night and day; during my crossfit workouts, when I’m having a lie-in on Sunday mornings and whilst I’m walking the puppy (whom now he is 1 years old should probably start to be referred to as a dog). However, as a consumer there is such a lack of freshly prepared salads, and I don’t mean the salad stalls that only serve vegan, carb enriched foods. I mean healthy, robust protein driven salads that can actually serve as your main meal. This time round I’m going with my heart and am so excited to be launching my own cake stall at a new farmers’ market in Harringay next month but at some point I would definitely like to be able to follow my other dream of opening an amazing place where salads reign supreme. The burger backlash has got to come at sometime, no?

Roast Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad

I love a salad with a big hearty flavour. The smack-you-round-your-chops heavy protein hitters like roast lamb shoulder, steak and here, pork belly, fit in with a light bright salad so much more comfortably then heavy carbs. You get all the joy of your favourite roast without being weighed down and you leave your meal feeling sated instead of stuffed. Plus, there’s more room for cake.

I had fallen out of love with pork belly for a while. When it first arrived on the scene it was everywhere, and actually if you go to any local drinking hole that likes itself as a bit of a gastropub then it probably still serves it, maybe with a bit of red cabbage if you’re lucky but definitely with mashed potato. For such an amazing cut of meat it got boring. Too many of these pubs serve it badly, floppy fat, dried out meat and in the worst offence that I have encountered recently, it was sliced in half and served without the signature crackling so the meat was paper thin and flabby.

Roast Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad

However, pork belly is enjoying a bit of a renaissance in my kitchen, mainly because I came up with this salad which just seems to be the perfect balance of apple crisp, crackling crunch, melting meat, sweet walnuts, peppery dressing and a touch of sour from the green pepper, another misunderstood vegetable. I ate this salad three days running and didn’t get bored. I’m thinking of making it again this week and I can think of no greater example of how glorious, satiating and life affirming a proper salad can be.

Roast Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad

Print Recipe
Roast Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad
Roast Pork Belly Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad is the perfect balance of apple crisp, crackling crunch, melting meat, sweet walnuts and peppery dressing
Roast Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3.5 hours
Servings
4 people
Ingredients
  • 1.5 kg pork belly
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds crushed
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Zest ½ lemon
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 apple (something like braeburn, jazz or pink lady)
  • 2 little gem lettuces
  • 1 green pepper
  • 6 spring onions
  • 2 celery sticks
Caramelised Walnuts
  • 60 g walnut pieces
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salted butter
Dressing
  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • 2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • plenty of salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon honey
  • 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3.5 hours
Servings
4 people
Ingredients
  • 1.5 kg pork belly
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds crushed
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Zest ½ lemon
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 apple (something like braeburn, jazz or pink lady)
  • 2 little gem lettuces
  • 1 green pepper
  • 6 spring onions
  • 2 celery sticks
Caramelised Walnuts
  • 60 g walnut pieces
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salted butter
Dressing
  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • 2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • plenty of salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon honey
  • 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
Roast Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad
Instructions
  1. Remove the pork belly from any packaging then place it on a plate unwrapped in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  3. Slash the fat on the top of the pork belly, making sure not to penetrate the flesh then place it on a rack in the sink and pour a kettle full of boiling water over to open up the slashes which will help to create a crunchy crackling. Pat the pork dry with kitchen paper.
  4. Next mix together the rosemary, fennel seeds, garlic powder, lemon zest, salt and pepper then rub all over the pork belly skin.
  5. Place the pork belly on a rack on a deep roasting tray and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Turn the heat down to 170°C and continue roasting for about 3½ hours or until the crackling on the pork belly is golden and crisp.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to rest whilst you make the rest of the salad.
  8. For the caramelised walnuts, place the walnuts, sugar and butter in a small saucepan and stir so the walnuts are thoroughly coated. Let the sugar dissolve into the butter then cook for about 3 minutes until the caramel turns a dark brown. Remove from the heat then quickly transfer the walnuts to baking parchment, separating them out from each other so they do not dry in a solid lump. Work with haste as the caramel will harden as soon as it starts to cool.
  9. Prepare the rest of the salad by slicing the apple, shredding the little gems, slicing the green pepper very thinly and dicing the spring onions and celery sticks. Mix together in a large salad bowl.
  10. To make the dressing, pour the mustard and vinegar in a small dish with plenty of salt and pepper and whisk together until the salt dissolves, then whisk in the honey. Drizzle the olive oil into the dish, whisking hard to emulsify the dressing, once it’s all mixed in, taste for seasoning.
  11. Assemble the final salad by shredding the pork, then toss together with the rest of the ingredients, drizzling with the dressing at the last minute.

Leave a Comment

*