Dabbous's Barbecued Iberico Pork Recipe

This sophisticated main-course from Dabbous: The Cookbook is one of the most requested dishes at the restaurant. Its beauty lies in striking the perfect balance of flavours between the different components:
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

To assemble

  • Dried sweet clover

 Dried acorn kernels

  1. Soak the kernels overnight in plenty of cold water to remove some of the tannins, then drain.
  2. 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.
  3. Drain and leave in a very low oven for about an hour to dry.

Acorn syrup

  1. 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.
  2. Put the water, honey and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Chop 100g of the nuts quite coarsely and set aside.
  3. 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.

Apple vinegar

  1. Cook the barley in the water until completely soft, then leave overnight to infuse.
  2. The next day, strain the liquid through a fine sieve, pressing down hard on the solids.
  3. Boil the white wine vinegar for 3 minutes, then add the barley water, Chardonnay vinegar, sugar and vitamin C.
  4. 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.
  5. The next day, strain the mixture through a fine sieve, pressing down hard on the apples.
  6. Using a hand blender, add the xanthan gum and combine until very thick, then pass through a fine sieve again.

Iberico pork

  1. Bring the presa to room temperature. Lightly oil the meat and season it well. 
  2. 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.
  3. Leave to rest for 15 minutes, then carve.

Radishes

  1. 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.
  2. Strain and bring to room temperature before serving.

Crushed green apple

  1. 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.
  2. Transfer the contents to a bowl and pulse with a hand blender until crushed but not smooth.

To assemble

  1. Place a spoonful of acorn praline on each plate, then top with the pork.
  2. Dress the radishes with some apple vinegar around the pork.
  3. 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



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