Try this delicious dish of pork belly and asparagus with sourdough croutons, egg, basil mayo and tomato relish

Recipe from Patrick Gayler, Executive Chef, Mission Hill Family Estate

PORK BELLY

  1. Order a slab of double-smoked bacon from your butcher or deli (approximately 250 grams).
  2. Place the bacon slab in an oven-safe dish that is just large enough to fit it.
  3. Pour in water until it comes about one-third of the way up the bacon. Cover with a lid or foil and bake at 325 F for about an hour.
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature before slicing into the large lardon. Hold in the fridge until ready to finish the dish.
  5. The oven cooking will help tenderize the meat and render out some excess fat. This can be kept in the fridge for up to five days.

MAYO

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 clove garlic, microplaned
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp mustard
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 sprigs basil, chopped (reserve the smaller leaves for garnishing the finished dish)
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp mustard

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine egg yolks, garlic, vinegar, basil, paprika, lemon juice and mustard in bowl and whisk together.
  2. Slowly pour in the oil while whisking until the mayonnaise is emulsified and holds a peak. If you have a food processor, this would be the ideal time to use it.
  3. This can be kept in the fridge for up to five days.

ASPARAGUS

  1. Use 1 lb spring asparagus.
  2. Trim asparagus and keep in the fridge until all the ingredients are assembled.

EGG

  1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.
  2. Gently place the eggs in the boiling water and cook for 7 minutes, then transfer the eggs to an ice bath immediately.
  3. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before peeling and keeping in the fridge until you are ready to assemble.

TOMATOES

  • 4 pc preserved whole tomato of choice
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp grainy mustard
  • Black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut tomatoes into bite-size pieces and transfer to a parchment-lined baking tray.
  2. Bake at 275F until the tomatoes are slightly dehydrated, about 30 minutes. This will enhance their texture and sweetness.
  3. While the tomato is in the oven, sauté the shallot in the olive oil until soft and translucent. Once cooked, remove from heat and season with the mustard and some black pepper. Once cooled, you can combine the tomatoes with the onion mixture.
  4. The can be held in the fridge for up to a week until you are ready to assemble.

TO FINISH

  1. Place your bacon lardons in a large sauté pan and crisp/render over medium height for 7 to 10 minutes. Once done, remove to paper towel-lined plate and reserve.
  2. Place the cooked and peeled eggs in a small pot and cover with hot water (chef’s note: this step is optional, I just prefer the egg is to be warm). Allow the eggs to warm slightly in the water while preparing the rest of the dish.
  3. In the sauté pan used for the bacon, tear some bite-size pieces of day-old sourdough and sauté until golden brown, then transfer them to the same plate as the rendered bacon.
  4. For the asparagus, using the same pan as the croutons and bacon, add a small amount of olive oil and place on high heat. Add asparagus so that every spear is contacting the pan surface, try not to overcrowd it.
  5. Let the asparagus sauté on high heat for a couple minutes until it begins to colour a bit. Season with salt and pepper and give it a toss in the pan. At this point, you can lower the heat to medium or medium low and cook the asparagus. It should continue to cook/steam for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid from the pan an ad add in a few tablespoons of the tomato relish. Stir this in and give the asparagus a try. It should be tender, but still have some crunch to it. When the doneness is where you like it, you can adjust the seasoning.
  7. To serve: Spoon the mayo onto individual plates or a platter. Drain and dry the eggs and place on top of the mayo. Arrange the bacon, croutons, asparagus on top of the aioli and sprinkle with a little basil to finish. Enjoy!