Richard Blais fetes Food Fete NY crowd with melted pork jowl

Recently Chef Richard Blais treated the crowd at NYC’s Food Fete to one of his latest sous vide delicacies:  Melted Pork Jowl with Homemade SousVide Ricotta.  Just reading the words makes me hungry!  What’s not to love about pork fat and cheese?  So we pressed him to share his secret with us all, and here it is!

Bruschetta of Melted Pork Jowl with Homemade Sous Vide Ricotta Cheese

For the Pork Jowl

2 pounds guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon)*

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the SousVide Supreme to 145F/63C.
  2. Vacuum/seal pork in a food-grade cooking pouch
  3. Cook for 24 hours or until exquisitely tender
  4. Remove pork from pouch, let cool slightly, slice, and serve.  Makes great sandwiches piled on crusty bread or, as paired with the ricotta below,  mouthwatering bruschetta.

Sous Vide Ricotta Cheese

3 cups milk
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Several grinds of fresh black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the SousVide Supreme to 180F/80C.
  2. Combine milk and buttermilk in a food-grade cooking pouch, remove as much air as possible, and seal only. (Do not attempt to vacuum, unless you have a chamber vacuum system.)
  3. Place the pouch into the water bath and cook, checking now and again, until the milks coagulate (clump.)
  4. Remove the pouch, strain the contents through a sieve to separate the curds; squeeze out solids.
  5. Season the curd with olive oil, salt and pepper

To assemble the bruschetta

1 slender loaf Italian bread (or a baguette), cut in 1/2-inch thick slices
1/4 cup olive oil
cooked pork jowl, sliced into small thin pieces
ricotta cheese
3 to 5  plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F/200C
  2. Brush each slice of bread with olive oil, arrange on baking sheet, and toast in the hot oven on one side about 2 minutes, then flip to the other side to toast another 2 minutes; remove from oven.
  3. Spread each slice of toasted bread with some of the ricotta cheese.
  4. Top each with a few slices of pork jowl, some diced tomatoes, and a drizzle of vinegar.

* Guaniciale is unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig’s jowls or cheeks.  It is available from specialty meat purveyors on line, at meat markets, and by special order from your grocery store meat counter.