Terrina di Polpo Pancia di Maiale: Baby Pork Belly and Octopus Terrine with Pickled Vegetables
For the Brine:
In a large pot, combine the water, salt, pink salt, sugar, thyme, garlic, juniper berries, black peppercorns, and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Pour the resulting brine into a separate container and allow it to cool. Set aside.
For the Infused Olive Oil:
Toast the coriander, peppercorns, and fennel seeds in a dry sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, until fragrant. In a small pot, combine the toasted spices with the olive oil, garlic, basil, bay leaves, and chili flakes and gently bring to a simmer, making sure not to burn the herbs. Remove the pot from the heat, and let the oil steep in the pot for approximately 30 minutes. Strain and allow the oil to cool. Set aside.
For the Baby Pork Belly and Octopus Terrine:
Submerge the pork belly in the Brine for 24 hours. Remove the pork from the Brine and discard any remaining solids sticking to the pork. Cut the octopus legs from the body and transfer them to a large vacuum bag with 250 milliliters of the Infused Olive Oil. Seal the bag. Transfer the pork into a separate vacuum bag. Seal the bag. Steam both the octopus and the pork bags in a Blodgett Combi Oven for 8 hours at 180°F. Remove both of the vacuum bags from the steam oven. Cool the bag containing the octopus in an ice bath. Once chilled, remove the octopus from the bag and set aside. Remove the pork from the bag and discard all bones and cartilage, reserving all pork juices. Allow the pork belly to cool. Put the pork belly between two half sheet pans and press down with a heavy weight, in the refrigerator, until cold. Once cold, cut the pork belly into two halves. Remove the skin from both halves, and score the fat lightly with a paring knife. In a nonstick pan, using very little oil, sear the fat side of both pork bellies until caramelized. Remove them from the heat. Cut each belly half into 2-centimeter-wide strips and set aside.
Line a one-third pan with plastic wrap (allowing for enough plastic wrap to later cover the pan). For the first layer of the terrine, lay one strip of the pork belly down on one side of the pan, followed by one leg of octopus. Continue alternating between the pork and the octopus until the layer is complete. Pour half of the reserved pork juice over the top of the first layer to fill the gaps. For the second layer, start with the octopus leg first, followed by a pork belly strip. Continue alternating layers until complete. Pour the remaining pork juices over the layers, and fold the plastic wrap over to cover the terrine. Press another one-third pan on top of the terrine and apply pressure with a heavy weight in the refrigerator overnight, until set.
For the Pickled Vegetables:
In a medium pot over medium-high heat, bring the water, white vinegar, salt, dill, bay leaves, and garlic to a boil, and remove from the heat. Pour the hot pickling solution over the cut vegetables. Allow the vegetables to cool at room temperature. Refrigerate until needed.
To Assemble and Serve:
Gently toss the arugula and mustard cress with the extra virgin olive oil and salt. Carefully unmold the Baby Pork Belly and Octopus Terrine. Slice the terrine carefully and evenly with a sharp knife dipped in hot water, cleaning the blade between slices. Serve cold. Plate each slice alongside the Pickled Vegetables. Garnish with the arugula and mustard cress salad. Drizzle a touch of extra virgin olive oil atop the terrine to finish.
Featured Ingredient: True World Foods Octopus
Featured Equipment: Blodgett Combi Oven, Multivac Vacuum Packer