Crispy Pork With Seared Broccoli

Pork Fillet with Seared Broccoli and Cracklings

Pork Fillet with Seared Broccoli and Cracklings

Pork Fillet with Seared Broccoli and CracklingsChris Tonnesen

Denmark is one of the world’s largest producers of pork. Danes often opt for the pork fillet, a part of the loin just below the neck that has a fatty skin cape on top. “It can be difficult to cook the skin until crispy without overcooking and drying out the meat,” says Copenhagen chef Niclas Grønhøj Møller, whose restaurant, Spisehuset, is located in the city’s Meatpacking District. His quick and easy technique for cooking the two separately yields high-crunch cracklings and tender, juicy pork that’s lightly pink in the center. If you can’t find a skin-on loin, purchase about 10 ounces of pork skin (with the fat intact) separately from your butcher.

Pork Fillet with Seared Broccoli and Cracklings
Danish chef's easy technique for cooking a pork fillet.
Yield: serves 4
Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 14 lb. skin-on pork fillet (back loin), or substitute 1½ lb. pork fillet and 10 oz. pork skin
  • 3 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 large heads broccoli, cut into medium florets (about 7 cups)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice Edible flowers, such as cabbage or broccoli rabe flowers, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the cracklings: Preheat the oven to 400°. Remove the skin and fat from the fillet in one piece, or have your butcher do it. Cut the skin into ½-inch-thick strips.
  2. In a medium pot of boiling water (10–12 cups), add 3 tablespoons salt and the pork skin pieces; boil for 20 minutes, then strain.
  3. Transfer the pork skin to a baking sheet, making sure the pieces are not touching. Bake until crispy and golden brown, 40–45 minutes.
  4. Remove the pork skin and chop into ¼-inch cubes. (Cracklings can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept in an airtight container.) Lower the oven heat to 350°.
  5. Prepare the pork: Cut the fillet lengthwise into two equal pieces (they will be a similar shape to pork tenderloin), then tie each every 1–2 inches with kitchen twine to create even, rounded shapes. Season all over with kosher salt and black pepper.
  6. In a large, ovenproof skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat until very hot. Add the pork (you should hear a loud sizzle) and cook, turning the pieces occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until a thermometer inserted into the center of the pork reaches about 150°, 15–20 minutes. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the broccoli: Halve each of the florets so they have a flat side. Heat a large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add about 1 teaspoon olive oil and as many of the florets, cut side down, as will fit without crowding. Let cook, pressing down with the lid of a pan or a small plate to help them sear on one side and steam on the other, until the florets have brightened and warmed through and the cut sides are charred, 4–5 minutes (broccoli should still be crunchy). Remove and transfer to a serving bowl; season with salt. Repeat with the remaining broccoli in as many batches as needed, adding more oil to the pan each time. Drizzle the finished broccoli with 1 tablespoon each olive oil and lemon juice, and season with salt to taste; toss to coat.
  8. Slice the pork into ½-inch-thick medallions. Sprinkle the broccoli with the flowers and chopped cracklings, and serve immediately.