Italian and Latino Fusion Sunday Funday | Part 2

And we’re back for part two of the all day cooking and drinking fest that was last Sunday. We started off with blood orange champagne cocktails, a cheese board, then some saffron, sundried tomato and manchego arancini, and that was only the tip of the iceburg. Round 2 consisted of some equally crazy fusion dishes, and this time I have step by step instructions on how these were prepared in case anyone wants to try these mouthwatering ideas at home.

For another lighter appetizer, Aaron prepared prosciutto and black bean bruschetta with pickled onions and jalapeños It was the perfect hors d’œuvre that was a fun Latino take on Italian bruschetta. Here is how it was made:

This is a good dish to make when you’re not rushing. We let the jalapeños and onions sit to pickle for a few hours before preparing, but it can be made quicker if need be.

Finished product. Needless to say, these were gone before I got seconds.

Now for a different form of Latin and Italian fusion: mole flavored chicken sausage. From scratch. I’m still in awe that this actually happened. This dish also required a time commitment, but the end result was so worth it. Watching Doug carefully calculate every step of the process was the perfect way to spend the day.

I had no idea plastic wrap could even do that, but apparently it stands up to the heat just fine, only shrinking a little bit when it gets hot. After the sausage was cooked through, Doug seared it, then served it on top of a toasted cracker with the previously mentioned pickled jalapeños and onions.

By this point we were all getting pretty full, but we had to keep going, because Tom’s grand finale dish had yet to be served.

Tom made Latin style pork belly served with Italian style bean stew. It was seriously unlike anything I’ve ever had, he actually started cooking this on Friday in preparation for the big day. That my friends, is serious commitment. Here is the process, starting after the 2 day pork belly prep.

This was the best item of the day, hands down. This is all the work that went into this dish (in Tom’s words):

Pork Belly Preperation

  1. I got it and the first thing I did was score the skin of the pork belly with a box cutter, because you can control how far down the blade goes, and they’re really sharp.
  2. The I made a cure for it (Latin American style) with equal parts brown sugar and salt. I also added cinnamon,  coriander  seeds, dried chiles and lots of pepper, let it cure overnight.
  3. The next day I smoked it for about 30 minutes.
  4. Then I roasted it in the oven 450 degrees for 40 minutes to render the fat out, then turned the oven down to 275 degrees to slow cook it.
  5. After it came out I put it in a pan and pressed it with another pan and a bunch of bricks so I could get uniform pieces, also pressing helps break the connective tissue.
  6. The next day (Sunday) I portioned it all out and when it was time to serve put it in the deep fryer to make sure the skin was crispy.

Bean Preperation

  1. I soaked 2 bags of great Northern beans overnight.
  2. Sunday I used some of the rendered fat from the pork belly and sauteed onions and carrots.
  3. Then I added the beans and dumped 3/4 of a bottle of white wine in the pot and added chicken stock until the beans were submerged.
  4. I also threw in some granny smith apples, a sprig of rosemary and a slab of bacon and obviously some salt and pepper.
  5. The liquid evaporated faster than the beans cooked, so I added water as needed until the beans started to get soft. Then let the liquid cook off until it gets to the right consistency.
  6. When the beans started to get soft, I took out the bacon and cut it into lardons, the reason I didn’t cut it at the beginning was because It would have gotten too mushy.

Collard Greens Preperation

  1. I rinsed the collards, rolled them up and did a rough drop, then put them into a cast iron pan with some pork fat, whole grain mustard, and a bit of stock.
  2. Cover them and put them in the oven for at 300 degrees for an hour.
  3. Added salt and pepper to taste before serving.

To Serve: Pour beans into serving pan and scatter the collards around, then place the belly over it, and garnish with raw pink lady apples.

Behold….

…Food coma of epic proportions ensues. This stew had a rich pork flavor that really came together in the end. The beans were so soft at that point that they broke up a little bit as they were stirred to thicken the texture of the stew, and the ones that didn’t break melted in my mouth. The fresh apples provided a crisp texture and light fruit flavor that perfectly balanced the richness of the pork. Because of all the preparation and rendering, the pork belly didn’t taste fatty at all, it tasted like a way more tender pork loin with crispy skin.

Thanks Tom and the Sunday Funday crew for a fabulous day. You guys make me so proud!

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5 Responses to Italian and Latino Fusion Sunday Funday | Part 2

  1. RIKI says:

    NICE MEESH

  2. Dan says:

    this was seriously awesome. i had such a great day. tom as always you are the man, and your dish killed it. as for everyone else thanks for your hospitality, and having us down to providence for the day. it was an (and i quote charlie sheen) “epic” experience.

    thanks a million-

    ps. feel free to invite me back anytime!

    –good synopsis of the day michelle christine zippalina–

  3. Michelle says:

    What a fabulous, fabulous day! I love the pickled jalapenos and onions!

  4. Wow, a nap is needed for sure! I am too nervous to grind meat or make my own sausage but I’m sure it tasted phenomenally!

  5. Sam says:

    OH YESS this was awesome…and doesnt even include that bacon balsomic jicima salad, the strombolis, the rabbit pasta that came out after we left, and the apple cake. And probably even more amazingness that I can’t remember right now.

    Future Top Chefs of America- you heard it here first—thanks again boys!

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