I’ve been thinking a lot about this here blog these days. October will mark 6 years doing What’s On My Plate…. it’s crazy how time flies. I first started What’s On My Plate as a way to track recipes that I’ve tried that I’ve liked. Food blogging has definitely provided some fun opportunities and I’ve made a lot of great friends through the site/social media as well.
The question that I’ve been thinking about (or to be completely honest, thinking about thinking about because I haven’t put a ton of thought into it yet) is what’s next? I still love blogging and obviously still love food but I’d like to think of new ways to tie the two together… a different focus. Maybe I need to be less lazy about my recipe creation? Or perhaps spend more time looking at some of the interesting food stories in my new(ish) backyard? Or refocus on my photography skills (no pun intended)… Who knows, but maybe this new-found reflection is because Mercury is currently in retrograde. Who knows.
Or it could be because now is such a transitional time. With school over, the internship in full gear and the return to school on the horizon, there are a lot of questions about what’s next, where to next and other grand questions of life. It’s pretty exciting and daunting all at the same time but I honestly can’t complain.
During the final days of school I invited two of my faves over for a bit of a feast. I’ve been eyeing this recipe from the NY Times for David Chang’s (of Momofuku fame) Bo Ssam for months and months. And what better way to enjoy a huge hunk of pork than to celebrate the end of the year with friends?
Bo Ssam is a Korean dish of roasted pork that you wrap in lettuce with rice, kimchi and various sauces. Apparently at Momofuku they serve it for 6-10 people and it costs $200. Next time I’m in NYC I’d love to round up 10 people and make that happen. But given the results achieved at home it is probably entirely unnecessary.
This might be my new favourite food. True. Story.
First of all, this dish is crazy easy to make. The pork itself is uncomplicated requiring white and brown sugar and kosher salt and a hang session in the fridge overnight. You then cook it for 6+ hours. I actually left my apartment for a few hours while it was cooking and came back to my whole building smelling like porky goodness. There’s something about the scent of roasting pork that is pretty intoxicating. From there you get your condiments together, shred the pork, lay out your spread, and you’re done.
Perhaps what’s most impressive is the reaction of guests. When all laid out it looks like a complicated meal with all these bits laid out to assemble the most delicious bites. And when you actually taste it the whole things taste like heaven. And then there’s the great contrast in textures and temperatures. The pork is tender but then you get delicious crackly bits as well. The lettuce is cool and crisp, the rice is warm and soft, there’s spicy, crunchy kimchi etc. basically so much goodness. But like I said, this meal is pretty idiot proof.
And for the record, the 3 of us devoured the entire spread. No leftovers.
Momofuku’s Bo SSam
1 whole bone-in pork butt or picnic ham (8 to 10 pounds)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons brown sugar
2½ cups thinly sliced scallions, both green and white parts
½ cup peeled, minced fresh ginger
¼ cup neutral oil (like grapeseed)
1½ teaspoons light soy sauce
1 scant teaspoon sherry vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons fermented bean-and- chili paste (ssamjang, available in many Asian markets, and online)
1 tablespoon chili paste (kochujang, available in many Asian markets, and online)
½ cup sherry vinegar
½ cup neutral oil (like grapeseed)
2 cups plain white rice, cooked
3 heads bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
1 dozen or more fresh oysters (optional)
Kimchi (available in many Asian markets, and online).
1. Place the pork in a large, shallow bowl. Mix the white sugar and 1 cup of the salt together in another bowl, then rub the mixture all over the meat. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
2. When you’re ready to cook, heat oven to 300. Remove pork from refrigerator and discard any juices. Place the pork in a roasting pan and set in the oven and cook for approximately 6 hours, or until it collapses, yielding easily to the tines of a fork. (After the first hour, baste hourly with pan juices.) At this point, you may remove the meat from the oven and allow it to rest for up to an hour.
3. Meanwhile, make the ginger-scallion sauce. In a large bowl, combine the scallions with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and taste, adding salt if needed.
4. Make the ssam sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the chili pastes with the vinegar and oil, and mix well.
5. Prepare rice, wash lettuce and, if using, shuck the oysters. Put kimchi and sauces into serving bowls.
6. When your accompaniments are prepared and you are ready to serve the food, turn oven to 500. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining tablespoon of salt with the brown sugar. Rub this mixture all over the cooked pork. Place in oven for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, or until a dark caramel crust has developed on the meat. Serve hot, with the accompaniments.
Recipe via NY Times
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