Lovely persimmons aren't just for salads and desserts. We also like to cook them in savory dishes, including this crispy pork belly simmered with miso, honey, and sake, from chef Craig Koketsu (Quality Meats and Park Avenue, NYC). Look for Fuyu persimmons, which are less astringent than other varieties.
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. gochujang (Korean red chile paste)
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. red miso
- 5 tbsp. plus 1 cup canola oil
- 1 (2-lb.) piece boneless, skinless pork belly, cut into 2½″-long pieces, 1″ thick
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 medium yellow onions, cut into ½″ wedges
- 1 (3″) piece ginger, peeled and smashed
- 1 cup dry sake
- 2 1⁄2 cups chicken stock
- 3 semi-firm Fuyu persimmons, peeled, cored, and quartered
- 1⁄2 cup potato starch
- 3 scallions (whites sliced crosswise, greens thinly sliced on a bias)
- Cheveux d'ange (thinly sliced dried chile pepper; optional)
Stir soy sauce, gochujang, honey, and miso in a bowl; set aside. Heat 3 tbsp. oil in an 8-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high. Season pork belly with salt; working in batches, cook until browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork belly to a bowl; set aside. Add garlic, onions, and ginger to pot; cook until soft, 4–6 minutes. Add sake; cook, stirring up browned bits from bottom of pot, 3 minutes. Add stock; boil. Reduce heat to medium; add reserved soy sauce mixture and pork belly to pot. Cook, covered, until pork belly is tender, about 1 hour. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to paper towels to drain; set aside. Strain braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; set aside.
Wipe pan clean; heat 2 tbsp. oil over medium-high. Cook persimmons until golden, 4–6 minutes. Add reserved braising liquid; simmer until thickened, 8–10 minutes, and keep warm.
Toss reserved pork belly in potato starch; shake off excess. Heat remaining 1 cup oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high. Working in batches, fry pork belly, flipping once, until crisp, 2–3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Arrange pork belly on a serving platter and spoon persimmons and sauce over the top; garnish with scallions and, if you like, sliced dried chile pepper.