It is immensely carnal and satisfying. The acorns lend a bitter, adult taste to the praline. The clover adds a grassy note to the green apple. The apple vinegar needs to be very thick to provide a lasting sharpness and not dissipate.This recipe is taken from the beautiful, recently published Dabbous: The Cookbook. Many thanks to Dabbous Restaurant and Bloomsbury Publishing for sharing such a delightful recipe with us:
For the dried acorn kernels Serves: 4
- 250g shelled acorn kernels, preferably from white oak
For the acorn syrup
- 60g dried acorn kernels
- 30ml water
- 30g chestnut honey
- 30g muscovado sugar
For the savoury acorn praline
- 125g dried acorn kernels
- 125g blanched almonds
- 25ml olive oil
- 3g salt
- 4g garlic, crushed
- 50ml smoked rapeseed oil
- 40ml olive oil
- 30ml acorn syrup
- 1 small pinch espelette pepper
For the apple vinegar
For the Iberico pork
- 2 x 600g Iberico pork presa, trimmed
- Olive oil
For the radishes
- 24 breakfast radishes
For the crushed green apple
- 500g Granny Smith apples (prepared weight), peeled, cored and chopped
- 50g caster sugar
- Juice 1/2 lemon
- 1/8 tsp vitamin C
- Dried sweet clover
Dried acorn kernels
- Soak the kernels overnight in plenty of cold water to remove some of the tannins, then drain.
- Bring a large pan of water to a rolling boil, add the acorns and cook at a rapid simmer for about 15 minutes, until the bitterness is less pronounced.
- Drain and leave in a very low oven for about an hour to dry.
- Crush the dried acorn kernels by hitting them with a rolling pin or a heavy pan. Put them on a baking sheet and toast at 170°C/Gas Mark 3 for 10 minutes.
- Put the water, honey and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the acorns, remove from the heat, cover and leave somewhere cool to infuse for 1 week. Strain through a fine sieve before use.
Savoury acorn syrup
- Toss the acorns and almonds with the olive oil and 1g of the salt, then scatter them over a baking tray and toast at 170°C/Gas Mark 3 for 10 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- Chop 100g of the nuts quite coarsely and set aside.
- Place the rest in a food processor with the remaining ingredients including the remaining salt and blend to a coarse-textured purée. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the chopped nuts.
- Cook the barley in the water until completely soft, then leave overnight to infuse.
- The next day, strain the liquid through a fine sieve, pressing down hard on the solids.
- Boil the white wine vinegar for 3 minutes, then add the barley water, Chardonnay vinegar, sugar and vitamin C.
- Return to a simmer, remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the apples. Cover with a lid and leave overnight in the fridge.
- The next day, strain the mixture through a fine sieve, pressing down hard on the apples.
- Using a hand blender, add the xanthan gum and combine until very thick, then pass through a fine sieve again.
- Bring the presa to room temperature. Lightly oil the meat and season it well.
- Barbecue over hot coals until well coloured all over, then raise the cooking shelf and cook above the coals, turning regularly, until the internal temperature reaches 55°C.
- Leave to rest for 15 minutes, then carve.
- Place the radishes in a vacuum bag, add enough iced water to the bag to submerge them completely, then seal and leave for 1 hour. If you don't have a vacuum bag, simply store them in iced water.
- Strain and bring to room temperature before serving.
Crushed green apple
- Place all the ingredients in a vacuum bag and seal. Cook in a waterbath at 95°C for 8 minutes, until softened but not completely cooked. Alternatively you can put the ingredients in a pudding basin, cover with cling film and steam for about 20 minutes.
- Transfer the contents to a bowl and pulse with a hand blender until crushed but not smooth.
- Place a spoonful of acorn praline on each plate, then top with the pork.
- Dress the radishes with some apple vinegar around the pork.
- Put a heaped spoonful of the crushed apple alongside and top with a sprinkling of clover.
Extract taken from Dabbous by Ollie Dabbous, published by Bloomsbury Publishing, £50.00, Hardback.
Photography © Joakim Blockstorm
About the author
Ollie Dabbous started his career in the kitchens at Le Manoir. He opened Dabbous in 2012 - his first restaurant, which also earned a Michelin star. Dabbous: The Cookbook followed 2 years later, and won the 2015 British Book Design and Production Awards. In 2018, Ollie opened the spectacular Hide restaurant in partnership with Mayfair wine merchants, Hedonism Wines. Ollie Dabbous' style is produce focused - doing as much or as little as necessary to bring out the best in his chosen ingredients.