The Barossa Farmers’ Market was awash with heirloom apples when we visited and at least two vendors were selling fresh free-range pork from old variety pigs like Saddlebacks and Gloucester Old Spots. Look out for this if you can at your own local market. This pork is delicious served hot or at room temperature.
1 1⁄2 kilogram piece free-range boneless pork belly, skin scored at 1 cm intervals across the width (ask your butcher to do this unless you have a very sharp knife)
1 teaspoon each sea salt and sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons dried sage
finely grated zest 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Apple and saffron sauce
3 Braeburn apples
1 small lemon
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
small pinch saffron threads
Preheat the oven to 200 ̊C.
Rub: Combine the ingredients in a small bowl to make a paste. Spread it onto the flesh side of the pork, rubbing it in well. Place the pork, skin side up, on a rack set over a baking dish.
Rub a little olive oil into the skin and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Pour 1 cm of water into the base of the dish and roast for 30 minutes. Keep adding water to the pan as it evaporates.
Lower the temperature to 160 ̊C and cook the pork for a further 1–1 1⁄2 hours or until the meat is very tender when pierced with a skewer. If the skin has not crackled enough, place it under a preheated grill to finish off. Rest at least 15 minutes before slicing.
Apple sauce: Peel, core and slice the apples. Cut the lemon in half through the stalk and slice thinly. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the apples and lemon are tender. Try not to squash the apples to a pulp. Transfer to a serving bowl.
To serve: Slice the pork through the scoring lines and arrange on a serving platter. Serve with the apple sauce and scatter with baby rocket leaves.