Chef Brandon Sharp of Solbar – Calistoga, CA
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 16 Servings
1 20-pound pork shoulder
Salt and black pepper
½ cup canola oil
24 cloves unpeeled garlic
2 bunches fresh thyme
6 ounces all-purpose flour
6 ounces bread flour
1½ teaspoons salt
5 ounces butter, melted and cooled
1 ounce sesame oil
1½ pints milk
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
Pickled Pineapple: (makes approximately 4 quarts)
1½ quarts water
1 gram rice wine vinegar
2½ quarts brown sugar
¼ cup salt
¼ cup cloves
¼ cup Szechuan peppercorns
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
Juice of 5 limes
5 pineapples, skinned, quartered, cored, split lengthwise, and sliced thin
Mongolian Peanuts: (makes 8-9 quarts)
3 grams water
12 pods star anise, in a sachet
10 pounds raw red-skin peanuts
¾ cup salt
3 teaspoons Korean red pepper
To Assemble and Serve:
Oil or clarified butter
Butter lettuce leaves
Fresh basil, cilantro, and mint leaves
For the Pig:
Remove any bone chips, organs, veins, and bruises from the pork shoulder; cut into roughly 8 to 9 2-pound rectangular pieces (this will be easier near the spine and more difficult towards the shank). Remove the skin from each piece, leaving no more than ¼-inch fat attached; score the fat in a crosshatch manner. A few unevenly shaped pieces will have to be rolled and tied. Season with a good coating of salt and black pepper. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 hours.
Preheat the oven to 300ºF. In a large rondeau or roasting pan, heat the oil over high heat. Sear the roasts, fat side first, until well-browned on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium-low, make sure all the roasts are fat-side-up. Add the garlic and thyme, and cover with a piece of parchment paper, then foil or a metal lid. Transfer to the oven and roast for 5 hours or more. The pork should be meltingly soft all the way through. (You can serve the roasted garlic cloves to spread on crusty bread with sea salt and dunk in rendered pork fat.)
For the Sesame Crepes:
Mix the flours and salt, then combine with the butter, sesame oil, eggs, and milk in Vita-Prep®; blend until smooth. Pass the batter through a china cap, stir in the sesame seeds, and let batter rest for about 8 hours before making the crepes.
For the Pickled Pineapple:
Put the water, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, salt, cloves, Szechuan peppercorns, and vanilla seeds in a pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Put pineapple in plastic Lexan or Cambro; pour the vinegar and sugar mixture over the pineapple; add the lime juice. Make sure the pineapple slices are completely submerged in the pickling liquid. Refrigerate for about 8 hours.
Strain the pickled pineapple when you’re ready to use it (you can reserve the pickling liquid for two more uses).
For the Mongolian Peanuts:
Preheat a convection oven (with the fan on) to 350ºF; preheat a fryer to 275ºF. Bring the water and star anise to a boil and cook for five minutes. Add the peanuts, cover, and boil for another 7 minutes; then turn off the heat and let steep for 10 minutes more. Drain peanuts thoroughly and spread on 3 parchment-lined sheet pans; roast, turning twice, for about 30 minutes, or until peanuts are cooked, but still “moist” in the center. Let cool. Fry the peanuts for 4 to 5 minutes or until crunchy and not too dark. Drain and season with salt and Korean red pepper. Set aside to cool (or store in a tightly covered container).
To Assemble and Serve:
Reheat the pork, if necessary. For the sesame crepes, heat an 8-inch crepe pan and add oil or clarified butter to lightly coat. Pour a small amount of batter into the pan and swirl it to spread evenly. Cook for about 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove from the pan. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Put a pork roast in a covered dish (serves two) and garnish with scallions. Divide the pickled pineapple and Mongolian peanuts among individual serving bowls. Arrange several sesame crepes, butter lettuce leaves, lime wedges, jalapeño, fresh herbs, and other condiments on a plate or several dishes.
To eat: tear apart the pork, put it in a lettuce cup or crepe, and garnish it as desired with the peanuts, pickled pineapple, herbs, etc.