As one reader pointed out in my previous post this recipe was missing a few key items such as rolls, cilantro, cotija and tomatoes in its ingredient line-up – always read the instructions before heading to the store poodles. Regardless, I had pork belly sliders last weekend at the always-fantastic Odd Duck food trailer here in Austin and was dying to try and make pork belly on my own. Plus, this Midnight Tortas recipe featuring delicous pork belly had been calling my name for sometime anyway. I mean how can you beat a recipe from the food truck in Los Angeles, Kogi, from Best New Chef Roy Choi? He just looks like a muy badass doesn’t he? The only hitch was I would need to make the gentle belly in the convection oven/microwave that I already have a huge crush on, but was a little hesitant since we are only a few dates into our culinary relationship.
We stopped by our local HEB off of Oltorf and Congress and I assumed they would have pork belly given they have trotters, feet and cow tongue, but they had just run out of pork belly…sigh. I grabbed short ribs instead as I thought it would make a nice stand-in. Who am I kidding, I love short ribs but nothing replaces pork belly. David then recommended we go to Whole Foods Market to see if they might have the delicious pork product. I was loving David’s commitment to the mission at hand. Whole Foods did have some and then I suggested why not do the sandwich with pork belly and the short ribs – we both started drooling at the same time. Once again, you’ve got to love dating a fellow food lover.
I seasoned the pork belly and short ribs with smoked paprika, pepper and Herbes de Provence to follow along the lines of this recipe. I placed in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour and then cooked for another two or so at 200 degrees all on the high mix roast setting.
After letting the short ribs and pork belly rest, I went on to split the bolillo rolls (love the local HEB so, so much for having these) and decided that since I had put my pinky toe outside the cooking lines why not just go all out lambs? I broiled the jalapenos and a hatch chile (’tis the season and nice call by David to add in!), let them cool, peeled and cut into thin strips. I decided instead of just mayonaisse to blend the juice of one lime, a pinch of cumin and mashed one avocado into the mayonnaise and then sprinkled in the cotija cheese – that way the bits of the crumbly cheese would stay on your sandwich and not on your plate. I also decided to keep the spinach fresh to provide a bit more texture to the sandwich and sliced the tomatoes. For the eggs, we don’t have a an application to cook the eggs stove top so I oiled a few ramekins, cracked an egg in each and placed one tablespoon of heavy cream to bake instead. I baked at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, which was a bit longer than we wanted but due to the cream in the eggs the whites looked not cooked through yet…they were and the eggs turned out creamy and delicious but the yolks were a little overdone. Key learnings with the new oven!
I shredded the pork belly and short ribs together and placed the jalapeno/hatch chile strips in with the meat. I smeared one half of the roll with the avocado mayonnaise then topped with the meat mixture. Next came the sliced tomato, fresh spinach, creamy eggs, a dollop of my cilantro salsa and then topped with the other half of the roll. Needless to say this sandwich was EPIC folks.
Another key learning from the convection oven, the pork belly turned out a little too crispy because I think I did it for too long, but the short ribs were perfect. Overall, I really liked this sandwich and would like to troubleshoot my mistakes for next time since the flavor combinations were delicious together and I could see this being a perfect tortas recipe to enjoy…well, maybe once in a blue moon given the decadence of it all.
If you have any tips or recommendations let me know and I’ll give this tortas recipe a try again. Oh, I almost forgot! I served this sandwich with this very simple but quite tasty Orange and Red Onion Salad and Red Pepper from Cooking Light. Great little side dish if I so say so myself.