Building your own recipes often creates some strange bedfellows. In this case, we developed a recipe based on the work of two cooking titans from very different places in the culinary spectrum: David Chang and Ina Garten. Chang is the bad-boy New York City chef of Momofuku fame, known for excellent, innovative Asian-inspired comfort food that is uniquely upscale and downscale at the same time (a tough balance to pull-off, btw). Chang is also known for extreme profanity, the occasional tirade and the pursuit of perfection. Ina Garten, better known as the Barefoot Contessa, is a Food Network staple, former Hamptons caterer and cookbook author who is best known for simplifying classic recipes and coolly saying “now, how easy is that”. I doubt they often share afternoon tea.
Actually, I have no idea if they know each other, or how they feel about the other’s work. But I will tell you that they have very different approaches to cooking- and their cookbooks bear this out. Chang’s “Momofuku Cookbook” has some very easy recipes, like pork belly, but is also full of multi-step, hard-to-find / make ingredients and sometimes highly technical cooking. The Momofuku cookbook, not surprisingly, reads like it was written by a chef. But happily, we do get some incredibly tasty, and easy recipes for the home cook like roasted pork belly. It is a great dish and anyone can make it. And it is really, really good. I have (very happily) had pork belly at Momofuku Ssam Bar and the home version competes very nicely. It is porky, soft, fatty, salty and incredibly indulgent. Yum. Double Yum.
(Ed. Note: A few years ago, we had a take-out roasted pork shoulder from Momofuku as part of a Thanksgiving meal in New York with family and friends. It was one of the best, most memorable, meals we have ever had. I thank David Chang and his team, to this day, for helping that meal happen.)