Miso Braised Pork Belly & Key Lime–Chili Seared Sea Scallops over Risotto Recipe

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Florida Keys & Key West Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Conch Republic

  • Yield: 6 Servings


For the pork belly
  • 1 pound pork belly, rinsed in cold water
  • ½ cup miso paste
  • 1 cup rice vinegar or mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sambal or chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ sweet onion, like Vidalia, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • Splash of water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
For the risotto
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large pinches saffron
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Kosher salt
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
For the scallops
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 12 dry diver scallops, washed and patted dry
  • 4 tablespoons clarified butter
  • 2 ounces key lime juice
  • 6 tablespoons whole butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
    To prepare the pork belly
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pork belly in a large braising pan. Whisk miso paste, vinegar, sambal, soy sauce, onions, garlic, and a splash of water in a medium bowl. Pour mixture over pork belly. Cover pan, place in oven, and braise pork belly for 1½ hours, until belly is soft and you are able to insert a knife through the center with ease.
  2. Remove pan from oven and allow pork belly to cool in the juices. (Braising can be done a day or two ahead of time. Simply cover and refrigerate pork belly. It can also be wrapped and frozen.) Once the belly has cooled, remove it from the pan and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Reserve cooking liquid. Refrigerate pork belly in a covered container until needed
  3. To make the pork belly sauce
  4. Strain the reserved cooking liquid and put into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer the liquid until it is reduced by half. Refrigerate in a covered container until needed.
  5. To make the risotto
  6. Place chicken stock in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low to keep stock hot. Whisk saffron into stock. (Stock should turn bright yellow.)
  7. Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add onions and salt to taste, and sweat the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add rice and cook for 3–4 minutes, allowing rice to stick slightly to the bottom of the pan and then scraping it off. (Rice should sound crackly.)
  8. Add enough wine to the pan to cover the surface of the rice. Season with salt to taste and cook, stirring continuously, until wine has absorbed into the rice. Add enough saffron chicken stock to pan until it just covers the rice. Cook, stirring continuously, until stock has absorbed into the rice. Repeat this process two more times with the hot saffron chicken stock. When the stock has been absorbed and the rice is creamy, taste a couple of grains of rice to be sure it is cooked perfectly. If it is still a little crunchy, add a little more stock and cook the rice for another couple of minutes. When perfect to the bite, remove rice from heat. Stir in the butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  9. To prepare the scallops
  10. Mix chili powder, pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of scallops with seasoning to taste. Place a large sauté pan over high heat and add clarified butter. Place scallops in pan and sauté for about 2–3 minutes per side, until nicely seared and just cooked through. Remove scallops and pour off excess butter. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add key lime juice to deglaze the pan. Whisk in the whole butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Return scallops to pan and coat them with the key lime butter sauce.
  11. To finish the pork belly
  12. While scallops are cooking, place canola oil a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, place 12 pork belly cubes in pan. Sear for about 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat.
  13. To assemble and serve
  14. Place reserved pork belly sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat. Divide risotto among 6 dinner plates. Top each serving with 2 scallops and 2 pieces of pork belly. Drizzle a little key lime butter sauce over the scallops and a little pork belly sauce over the pork belly cubes for each portion. Serve immediately.

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