Inspired by the pomegranates of Yazd, this eight-hour slow-roasted pork belly with pomegranate is dark, sticky and beautifully balanced against a lively salad of purslane laced with barberries and toasted walnuts.
1 bunch purslane leaves
5 French shallots, finely shaved on a mandoline
3 radishes, finely shaved on a mandoline
¼ cup barberries, soaked in cold water for 3 hours, drained (see note)
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
½ cup walnuts, toasted
10 purple micro basil shoots
10 mint leaves, torn
50 g garlic, chopped
15 g anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked
pinch of salt
25 ml pomegranate molasses
1 kg piece pork belly, bones removed
200 ml olive oil
400 ml water
Roast garlic vinaigrette
1 head garlic, roasted
80 ml (⅔ cup) olive oil
30 ml pomegranate molasses
lemon juice, to taste
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
To make the pork belly, preheat the oven to 100°C. Add the garlic, anchovy, thyme, star anise, cinnamon, rosemary, salt and pomegranate molasses to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Rub the flesh side of the pork belly generously with the paste. Line a baking dish with baking paper and place the pork inside, skin side up. Drizzle the skin with olive oil and season with salt. Pour the water around the pork, transfer the dish to the oven and cook for 10–12 hours until completely soft. (You can refrigerate the pork at this point if preparing ahead.)
Increase the oven to 220°C and cook the pork for a further 10–14 minutes or until the skin is crisp.
To make the roast garlic vinaigrette, slice the tip off each head of garlic and squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of the skins into a bowl. Add the olive oil, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice and salt and whisk until emulsified. Reserve until required.
Combine the purslane, shallot, radish, barberries, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, purple basil and mint in a bowl and mix to combine. When ready to serve, dress the salad with enough roast garlic vinaigrette to coat very lightly. Serve immediately as the salad, once dressed, will deteriorate quickly.
To serve, remove the crispy skin pork from the oven and place on a chopping board skin side down. Using a heavy knife, slice into pieces and transfer to a serving platter. Place the salad around the pork, leaving the crispy skin exposed. Serve immediately.