Pork Belly on Mountain Bread with Shaved Fennel, Radish and Sumac Salad

, from Issue #35. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Pork Belly on Mountain Bread with Shaved Fennel, Radish and Sumac Salad

Serves: 4


1 kilogram piece pork belly, skin on (we use Freedom Farms pork)
olive oil
1 teaspoon sumac
2 large mountain breads
ground cumin
sesame seeds
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 large fennel bulb
4-6 radishes, julienne
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon sumac
2 tablespoons each picked mint and flat-leaf parsley


Preheat the oven to 220˚C.

Using a very sharp knife, score the skin of the pork 1 cm wide or ask your butcher to do this for you.

Rub the pork all over with olive oil and season the flesh side with sumac, salt and pepper and the skin side only with salt. Place on a rack set over a baking dish. Roast for 40 minutes then reduce the temperature to 160˚C and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the pork is very tender.

At the end of the cooking time if the skin hasn’t crackled, place the pork under a hot grill for a few minutes, taking care it doesn’t catch and burn. Set aside to cool.

Cut the mountain bread in half and place on a flat baking tray. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with cumin, sesame seeds and sea salt. Bake for 5-6 minutes, turning the bread for even browning, until crisp and golden.

Salad: Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and sumac in a large bowl and season. Thinly shave the fennel bulb (a mandolin is perfect for this) and add to the dressing along with the radishes, tossing well to coat. Add the herbs just before serving.

To serve: Remove the crackling from the pork and cut into long pieces through the score lines. Slice the excess fat from the top of the pork and discard. Slice the meat thinly and add to the fennel salad.  Break each piece of mountain bread in half and place one piece in the middle of each plate. Top with the salad and a couple of pieces of crackling. Serve the remaining mountain bread separately. 

Pantry note
Sumac: the dried, crushed red berry of the sumac bush, this ‘spice’ has a sour, lemony flavour. It is used widely in Middle Eastern cuisine. Available from gourmet food stores and good supermarkets.