Pork Belly with Sake-Braised Clams and Truffles

Michelle Bernstein

Michy's, Miami, FL

JBF Award–winning chef Michelle Bernstein revealed this unforgettable combination in an appetizer at a James Beard House dinner on July 30, 2008. Here the rich, juicy, loveliness of pork belly is expanded into an entrée-sized portion.


Pork Belly:
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup Kosher salt
  • 3 oranges, cut into quarters
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (with stems)
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 pounds pork belly
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or broth)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Sweet Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Thai chili, finely chopped
Sake Braised Clams:
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cups sake
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened rice wine vinegar
  • 4 cups purchased dashi broth
  • 16 littleneck clams
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 black summer truffle (or 1 tablespoon truffle oil)


Combine the brown sugar, salt, oranges, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, and peppercorns. Rub the pork belly with the cure and refrigerate for 48 hours.

Preheat oven to 300ºF.

Rinse off the cure, place in a baking dish and add the chicken stock. Cover pan with foil and bake 4 to 5 hours or until tender. Remove from the cooking liquid, press with another pan and a weight and allow the belly to cool completely. Cut into 3-inch squares.

To make the sweet glaze, combine all ingredients until the sugar melts. Set aside.

For the sake-braised clams, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the sake and vinegar and cook until reduced by half, 6 minutes. Add the dashi and reduce by half, 7 minutes more. Add the clams and raise the heat to high. Partially cover and steam clams until they open, about 5 minutes. Add butter to the broth, turn off heat, and let sit until serving.


4 servings