Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.
Say “ving-a-dosh”! My boyfriend’s mother makes this dish, Portuguese pickled pork, every Easter Sunday, Christmas, and New Year’s Day for breakfast. Her recipe was passed down orally by her mother, and her mother’s mother passed it down the same way. Up until recently, they had never written it out! While I’ve taken some liberties, the heart of the recipe is hers. Serve this with a fried egg, steamed white rice, and some Pickled Onion.
- 2 teaspoons Hawaiian salt (‘alaea)
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated
- 2 pounds pork butt, with fat cap, cut into 2-inch cubes with fat on
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Hawaiian chili peppers (nīoi), thinly sliced
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
- Neutral oil, for frying
- Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper
Massage the salt and grated garlic into the pork butt cubes. In a large bowl or a gallon-size freezer ziplock bag, combine the pork with the vinegar, water, peppercorns, bay leaves, and chili peppers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or seal the ziplock bag and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate overnight. In the morning, stir gently or flip the bag before stirring in the potatoes. Return to the refrigerator to marinate for at least 3 hours, or until you are ready to cook.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and set aside. In a large pot, bring the pork and marinade to a boil over high heat, reserving the potatoes. When the liquid comes to a boil, skim off any scum that floats to the surface with a skimmer or slotted spoon, turn the heat to low, and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer for 30 minutes, skimming the scum off the top as needed. Add the potatoes and continue to simmer, with the lid on, for another 30 minutes. Remove the pork and potatoes from the liquid with a slotted spoon, placing them on the paper towel–lined rimmed baking sheet.
Line a large plate with paper towels and set aside. In a large skillet, heat enough oil to coat the bottom over medium-high heat. When the oil is shiny and shimmering, crisp the pork and potatoes, in batches, on all sides. This goes quickly, and you should need only a minute or two on each side. The pieces should be uniformly golden and crispy. Place the crisp, golden pieces on the prepared plate and immediately season with flaky salt and black pepper to taste. Repeat until everything has been panfried. Serve immediately.