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by on March 11th, 2014

Pork Belly (PBLT) Bites

If you like BLT’s you’ll love this.

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Here’s the third installment of the pork belly saga.  I know you are thinking “is she ever going to get over pork belly” — the answer is NO.  I will save the taco and benedict recipes for later.

I made Anne Burrell’s recipe for braised pork belly a while back and knew since pork belly is my favorite “bacon” type product I wanted to try braising some.

I usually pick up my pork belly at an Asian market. It’s about the only thing I buy at the Asian market since I bought those frog legs that time that still had little webbed feet on them and looked like the offsprings of some mother or father that had been gigged one dark night from a “John” boat. (That’s the way my dad got them anyway.) These particular frogs looked more like babies than the big plump ones I have had in the past and I could have gone out in my yard and rounded up a few yard frogs if that were the type I wanted. (Of course I wouldn’t do that.)

If you don’t see pork belly ask your butcher about it or if you live where we were from in Missouri, it’s called Fresh Side Pork, or uncured bacon. Here’s the recipe just in case you want to try making braised pork belly.

This little appetizer is a play on BLT sandwich. I love Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches, who doesn’t, and I cannot tell you what year I last had one. Why? I don’t know, but this app has all the ingredients but in one small (or two) bites.

Longman and Eagle in Chicago use to serve a pork belly sandwich that was spread with a tomato fennel jam and it was mouth watering delicious. Since I don’t intend on making that jam, I was excited to find a jar of tomato preserves at our local gourmet market.

My plan of attack for this little bite was to butter a thin slice of baguette, top with a little tomato jam, a leaf of arugular, crispy pork belly (or thick apple smoked bacon), then a thin slice of calmari tomato and maybe another piece of argula (or not). Then a little drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Other spreads or options I came up with was a drizzle of hoisin sauce, maybe instead of the tomato preserves (if you can’t find those) is to mix a little may with some chopped sun dried tomato).  Just get in your bacon, lettuce (greens) and tomato one way or the other.

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My braised pork belly looks a little pitiful.  It perks up after frying or broiling.

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Brush tops of baguette slices with some olive oil and bake in 350° oven for 5-6 minutes until they have barely started to brown.

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Pork belly after it had been fried in a little oil in skillet.

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Top each baguette slice with a little tomato preserves. Or if you don’t have that you can use plain mayonnaise or some mayonnaise mixed with a little chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

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Top with some arugula or spinach leaves.

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Top with a piece of the fried pork belly (or thick sliced bacon).

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Add a slice of tomato and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

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Pork Belly PLT Bites

Baguette, sliced thin
Butter or olive oil, for brushing bread slices
Fresh tomato, sliced thin (may have to cut in half to fit bread)
Slices of fried pork belly (or use thick sliced bacon)
mayonnaise, optional
arugula, baby spinach or miniature greens
Tomato Preserves (or a tomato tapenade or mix mayo with sun-dried tomatoes)

MAKING THE APP:
Preheat oven to 450°.
Cut the baguette diagonally (thin). Brush with either melted butter or olive oil and toast in oven until lightly brown.
Prepare your bacon product.  Either brown your bacon and break into about 2″ pieces or if you are using pork belly, crisp it up before putting on your bite.
Spread the tomato preserves on the toasted baguette slice. If you don’t have the tomato preserves then you can spread with either plain mayonnaise or mix some finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes with the mayonnaise and then spread this on the baguette slice.
Next put a few leaves of arugula or baby spinach on top of the spread, then a slice of tomato, then the bacon on top. You may run a tooth pick or skewer through top to hold it all together or you may try rearranging the spread/tomato/greens/bacon layers so they are so slippery.
After putting these all together drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze.  Serve and enjoy your BLT bite.
Notes:  I thought my tomato jam was a little sweet.  I’m going to try melting it, adding some fennel or fennel seeds and see if it will gel back up.  The little bite was delicious and I think some mayonnaise with a little finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes would be just as delicious.
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