This modern pork belly benedict is perfect for an at-home brunch
By Scott Nishimura
Photography by Nancy Farrar
Jett Mora, executive chef at Café Modern, the fine dining restaurant inside the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, loves to incorporate staples from his Filipino heritage. Those include vinegar, garlic, ginger and soy. On a recent April afternoon spent cooking for the 360West team, Mora put together an eggs Benedict using adobo-braised pork belly. Adobo, derived from the Spanish word meaning “marinate,” is so popular in the Philippines, it’s often referred to as the country’s national dish. “You can adobo anything,” says Mora, a longtime Wolfgang Puck chef in Los Angeles who moved to Café Modern in 2021 after Puck took over management of food and beverage service at the restaurant. “Chicken. Beef. But for me, pork belly is king.”
This recipe is a Sunday brunch favorite at Café Modern. “It’s kind of like eggs Benedict and Florentine all in one,” he says. “We’ll sell maybe 25 to 30 of these.” Mora marinates the pork belly overnight, so give yourself two days to make this dish. Makes four servings.
ADOBO-BRAISED PORK BELLY
- 1 pound whole pork belly
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups soy sauce
- 2 cups coconut vinegar or white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon coarse black pepper
- 3 bay leaves
Score the fat side of the pork belly with crosshatches, and pat it dry.
Heat a saute pan on medium-high setting with the canola oil and sear the meat on all sides, starting with the fattiest side, until all sides are a dark golden brown, several minutes.
Remove the pork, and set aside in a container to add marinade to later. Remove all the excess fat from the pan. Discard.
Put the pan back on a medium flame and deglaze with vegetable stock, making sure to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, sugar, black pepper and bay leaves, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat down to low.
Pour the sauce over the pork belly in the container, submerging the meat. Place it in the refrigerator.
Marinate overnight for 12 hours. Note: The inside of the meat will still be raw.
The next day, put the pork belly and all the marinade in a braising pan or ovensafe pot, cover with foil and cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 275 degrees until tender. Reserve braising liquid.
LIME CHIVE HOLLANDAISE
- 2 cups clarified butter
- 4 egg yolks
- ¼ cup lime juice
- Salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
Warm the clarified butter to about 145 degrees using a meat or immersion thermometer.
Create a double boiler by adding just enough water to a pot over medium heat and placing a mixing bowl on top of the pot.
Combine the egg yolks and lime juice in the bowl and whisk until thickened.
Take the eggs off the heat and whisk in the clarified butter a few drops at a time. If the sauce gets too thick, add a few drops of cold water to loosen it up.
Season with salt to taste and add the chives. Reserve for plating.
ENGLISH MUFFIN OR ANY SMALL BREAD ROLL
Cut four halves of your favorite dinner roll or English muffin. Toast with butter. Reserve for plating.
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
In a small pot of water, add the vinegar and salt and bring to a gentle simmer, about 180 degrees.
Using a spoon, create a small vortex to spin the water. Crack an egg, discard the shell, and carefully insert the egg in the water. Cook for about 2 minutes. Remove egg with a slotted spoon onto a plate with a paper towel. Repeat with the other eggs. Reserve for plating.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
- 3 cups spinach
- 1 tablespoon reserved braising liquid from pork
Add oil to a saute pan on medium heat. Cook garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and mix until slightly wilted. Add 1 tablespoon of the braising liquid to the pan. Reserve for plating.
Slice the pork belly against the grain into 1-inch slices. Sear in a saute pan at medium-high heat to get slightly crispy. You can add braising liquid for added flavor. Remove. Put toasted bread on the plate (if the roll is a round, cut the bread so it lays flat). Place seared pork belly on top of the bread. Top it with sauteed spinach, creating a bed for the poached egg to lie flat. Finish with hollandaise sauce.