Recipe: Pork and Clams

by Bekah Angoff

The summer outdoor raw bars are closed, and it is time to take out the stew pot. Think that a bag of clams is only good for a chowder or a fritter? Think again! This dish takes delicately cured pork belly and tops it with marinated Wellfleet clams to make a dish worthy of a chilly fall night.

serves four

The Pork:
1 lb. skinless pork belly, cut into 2-inch-wide strips
2 cup kosher salt
1 cup turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw)
1 TS crushed black peppercorns
1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
3 ea crushed star anise pods
1 qt unsalted chicken stock
1 ea large knob ginger, sliced thinly
1 ea large shallot, rough chopped
3 ea cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 tsp black peppercorns
In a bowl, combine salt, sugar, and spices. Coat the pork belly in the mixture and place in an airtight container, covering with all of the mix. Let it sit overnight, or at least 6 hours.
Remove the pork belly from the salt mix and rinse clean. Pat it dry with paper towels and allow to air dry in the refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 6 hours.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pork belly, fat side down, and render until the fat side is a golden brown. Flip the bellies over and add the ginger, shallot, garlic, and peppercorns, allowing them to briefly toast in the rendered pork fat. Add the stock, allowing the mixture to come to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Remove the pork form the liquid, and place it in-between two cookie sheets, with a weight on top (like an empty pan or can of soup. Allow to cool in the fridge. Once chilled, cut the pork into 1-inch-thick slabs, just slightly larger than bite size.

The Sauce:
3TS saamjang (Korean garlic chili paste – use sriracha as a substitute if necessary)
1TS low sodium soy sauce
2TS honey
2TS water
1tsp sesame oil
Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.

The Clams:
30 ea Wellfleet countneck clams
1 cup dry white wine
1 ea large shallot, chopped
2 ea cloves garlic, chopped
1 ea lemon, juiced and zested
½ bunch scallions, white and greens sliced thinly
1 TS olive oil
In a medium pan, heat the olive oil and sweat the garlic and shallots until aromatic and translucent. Add the clams to coat with the oil, and then add the wine and lemon juice. Simmer and watch the clams, picking them out of the pot and transferring to a separate dish as they open. Once all of the clams are open, remove the pot from heat. Pick the clams from the shells and transfer into a separate container. Mix the clam meats with the lemon zest and scallions, then top with some of the liquid from the pot. 

The Rest:
½# steamed baby bok choy
2c cooked pearled barley

The Assembly:
In a medium skillet, crisp the pork belly on both sides. While on the second side, coat each piece with the sauce, making sure it does not burn. Remove from heat.
Gently warm the clams, making sure not to cook the clams any further.

Build four bowls with warm barley, warm bok choy, two to three pieces of pork, a light drizzle of sauce, and a generous heap if the warmed clams and clam juice. It is enjoyed best with a dry cider and a view of some spectacular foliage.