FIVE-SPICED PORCELET; BLACK TRUMPET MUSHROOMS, CRISPY CHICHARRONES
ONCE AGAIN our trusted purveyors and their pristine products inspire our dishes. Nourished for four weeks with warm milk only and fortified porridge for the next four, the piglets of St-Canut Farm in Quebec offer an incomparable flavor and tenderness not only in the meat (we use loin, belly, and the chop here), but also in the skin. As a wink to South America, we fry the skin and make chicharrones, a wonderful, crisp contrast to the soft, velvety consistency of the meat.
With an immersion circulator, preheat a water bath to 144°F.
Remove and reserve the skin from the rack and sirloin for chicharrones. Shave the fat from the top of the rib rack down to ¼-inch thickness and score it in a crosshatch pattern. Reserve the rack, chilled.
Weigh the sirloin meat and measure the needed amount of seasoning according to the ratio listed in the ingredients. Sprinkle the seasoning over all sides of the meat, transfer to a sous-vide bag, and vacuum-seal.
Weigh the belly and measure the needed amount of seasoning according to the ratio listed in the ingredients. Sprinkle the seasoning over all sides of the meat, transfer to a sous-vide bag, and vacuum-seal.
Submerge the bags of sirloin and belly in the prepared water bath and cook for 12 hours. Transfer the bags to a bowl of ice water until fully chilled through the center, then remove the contents from the bags. Cut the belly into at least 8 cubes. Reserve the belly and sirloin, chilled.
For the Chicharrones
Preheat the oven to 190°F. Trim the skin of any excess fat, cut it into large (about 5-inch) pieces, and transfer to a large saucepan with the stock (or water), thyme, garlic, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Simmer covered for 2 hours, or until the skin is very tender.
Strain the skin, pat dry with paper towels, and lay in a single layer on a parchment paper–lined tray. Bake in the oven for 8 hours, or until dry and crispy but not colored (you can dry the chicharrones at the same time as the black trumpet mushrooms; see below).
Fill one-third of a medium saucepan with canola oil and heat to 400°F. Fry the chicharrones (you will need to do this in batches) until puffed and crispy but not browned. Drain them onto a paper towel–lined tray, sprinkle with salt, break into bite-size pieces, and cool. Store in an airtight container.
For the Roasted and Powdered Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Preheat the oven to 190°F. To clean the mushrooms, submerge them in a bowl of cold water, leave for 2 minutes, strain from the top, and repeat until the water that settles at the bottom is clear. Strain and pat dry with a towel. Transfer half of the mushrooms to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 8 hours, or until dry. Using a blender or spice grinder, grind the dried mushrooms to a fine powder, pass through a fine-meshed sieve, and reserve.
Brown the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the thyme and garlic and heat until aromatic. Add the remaining mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and sauté until they become tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the fat from the mushrooms, discard the garlic and thyme, transfer the mushrooms to a cutting board, and finely chop. Reserve, chilled.
For the Crispy Potato Cylinders
Fill one-third of a medium saucepan with canola oil and heat to 275°F. Use a mandoline to cut a ⅛-inch-thick slice from the long side of the potato. Trim the slice into a 4 × 2½-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the slice lightly with salt to soften it. Lightly oil the exterior of a ¾-inch-diameter stainless steel tube (or cannoli form) and wrap the potato around it. Place this tube in the center of another, slightly larger stainless steel tube about 1 inch in diameter. Lower into the oil and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, until the potato is golden and crispy. Slide the potato onto a paper towel–lined tray and sprinkle with salt. Repeat to make at least 8 cylinders. Cool and store in an airtight container.
For the Fingerling and Purple Potatoes
Place the fingerling potatoes in a saucepan with 2 sprigs thyme, 2 cloves garlic, and a pinch of salt; cover with water. Simmer 15 minutes, or until tender. Strain, and while still warm, peel and discard the skins.
Cut the ends of the purple potatoes so they stand at a flat 1-inch height and use a 1½-inch-diameter ring cutter to punch a disc out of each one. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the remaining thyme, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt. Submerge the potato discs in the butter and cook over medium heat (the butter should be 190°F) for 15 minutes, or until easily pierced with a cake tester. Add the fingerling potatoes to the saucepan and keep warm
For the Baby Leeks
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and place a bowl of ice water on the side. Boil the leeks for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender. Chill in the ice water, drain, and reserve.
For the Shallot Confit
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine all ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the shallot is tender but not colored. Reserve, chilled.
For the Gingered Five-Spice Pork Jus
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and five-spice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the pork jus and simmer lightly for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and, if needed, thin the consistency with chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Remove the fingerling potatoes from the pan with the butter, lightly crush each with a fork, and season with five-spice, salt, and white pepper; keep warm.
Rest the pork rack at room temperature for 15 minutes. Season on all sides with salt and cracked black pepper. If desired, wrap the rack bones in aluminum foil to prevent browning. Heat the olive oil in a large heat-proof sauté pan over medium heat. Sear the rack on all sides, using a spoon to continually baste the meat with the rendering fat. Once the rack begins to turn golden brown, turn, fat side down, and add 2 tablespoons of the butter, the thyme, and the garlic. Continue to baste for another 2 minutes, then transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until the fat is browned and crispy, basting every 2 minutes. Flip the rack and return to the oven for 3 more minutes, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 130°F. Remove from the pan and allow it to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, warm a heatproof medium nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork belly cubes in a single layer and sear on all sides until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Arrange the belly cubes skin side down and transfer to the oven for 4 minutes. Transfer the belly to a baking sheet, strain excess fat from the pan, glaze the belly with a couple of spoonfuls of the jus, and keep warm. Return the sauté pan to high heat, add the pork sirloin, and sear on both sides until golden brown, about 6 minutes total. Slice the sirloin into 8 square portions and keep warm.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the diced leeks. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the stock. Simmer until the leeks are tender and the butter and stock have reduced to a glaze. Add the reserved shallot confit, baby leek batons, and chopped mushrooms, toss to heat through, and season with salt and white pepper.
Slice the rack into 8 equal-size portions, with 1 bone each (trim off extra bones as needed). In a small bowl, toss the frisée lettuce with the mustard vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.
For each serving, place a crushed finger-ling potato topped with a spoonful of diced leek on one side of a warm dinner plate. Place a piece of pork belly next to the potato and top the potato with a portion of rack; sprinkle the rack with fleur de sel. Slide a baby leek baton inside a crispy potato cylinder and place in the center of the plate. Place a piece of seared sirloin and a purple potato on the other side of the plate. Arrange some frisée and a few pieces of chicharrones on top of the sirloin and purple potato. Sprinkle a straight line of black trumpet powder between the rack and the rim of the plate and spoon a line of sauce onto the plate at a 90-degree angle to the powder.