Wood-fired Virginia Clams, Crispy Pork Belly, and Croutons

Adapted by StarChefs.com
June 2012
Yield: 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

Pork Belly
1 thick slab pork belly
1 cup 1:1 sugar-salt cure
olive oil
celery, chopped
onion, chopped
carrot, chopped
garlic, chopped
Herb sachet (thyme, peppercorn, coriander, and bay leaf)
1 quart chicken stock
Pork Jus
Pork bones
carrots, chopped
onion, chopped
celery, chopped
2 cups Red wine
1 quart reduced veal stock
Herb sachet (peppercorn, coriander, and bay leaf)
Wood-fired Virginia Clams
olive oil
1 head green garlic
1 dried pequin pepper, or dried pepperoncini
1 shallot, chopped
4 razor clams
2 cups white wine
12 Sapelo Island clams
2 tablespoons brown butter
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
coarse salt
black pepper
Croutons
1 small loaf country-style bread
1 tablespoon butter
2 sprigs thyme
coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
To Assemble and Serve
fryer oil
1 serrano pepper, sliced
coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
flat-leaf parsley, chopped
olive oil

METHOD:

For the Pork Belly:
Put the pork belly in a bowl, cover with the cure, and cure overnight. The next day, rinse the cure off and, in a small braising pot, sear the pork belly in olive oil until golden brown. Remove and add the celery, onion, carrots, garlic, and sachet to the pot and cook until tender. Add the belly back in and cover with chicken stock. Braise until tender, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove the belly from the stock. Cool by pressing belly down in refrigeration. Cut into small squares.

For the Pork Jus:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast the pork bones until golden brown. In a medium stockpot, sweat in the carrots, onion, celery, and bones. Add the red wine and reduce. Add veal stock, thyme, and aromatics. Gently simmer and skim pork sauce for 2 hours. Strain and set aside.

For the Wood-fired Virginia Clams:
Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan and sweat the green garlic, pequin pepper, and shallots. Add the razor clams and white wine and cover with lid to steam. Take out razor clams after they open and slice them. Add clams and more white wine, if needed, and cover. When clams begin to open, remove lid and add sliced razor clams, butter, and parsley. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper.

For the Croutons:
Tear the bread into small croutons. In a small pan, foam the butter, add in bread and thyme, and fry until golden brown. Remove when crispy and season with salt and pepper.

To Assemble and Serve:
Heat oil in a deep fryer or cast iron skillet and pan-fry the Pork Belly squares until crispy. Sweat out the serrano pepper in olive oil. Add the Pork Belly to the pepper and season liberally with salt and pepper. Deglaze with 1 cup of Pork Jus and set aside.

Add some Croutons to the bottom of a large bowl and spoon the Wood-fired Virginia Clams and the clam jus on top. Add chunks of Pork Belly and Pork Jus all around. Finish with more Croutons, parsley, and olive oil.