I am a meat lover and I am not ashamed. I could never ever be vegetarian - although I did try for a whole year, only to be quite miserable and miss my meat, so went back to being carnivore. But I do have this plain and simple theory, when I cook, be it meat, fish, or veggies: to honour the ingredients I am working with, because they have lost their life to feed me. I always try to cook in the most tasty way possible, but also in ways that enhace the natural flavour of those ingredients I am using, not masking them up like so many people do. When you eat fish, you should taste the fish, and the same goes for meat, and vegetables. So to me a simple salad is not just a simple salad. This one is what most people would consider to be quite boring and thus make them pile up on salad sauces full of mayo or cream. To me this is the most delicious form of salad, with lettuce, tomato and onion, a simple dressing of sea salt, cider vinegar and good portuguese olive oil. It stands as perfection, the salt and vinegar allowing the sweetness from the tomatoes to come shinning through, tendering the tartness of the onions, and the olive oil coating the lettuce leaves to enhance their earthy flavour. As a light lunch, I could eat this everyday and be happy, when the weather is hot and summery.
But for this particular night, some weeks ago, we craved for something else. We wanted pork belly. I love cooking pork belly in the oven, with some root vegetables on the side and seasoned with herbes de provence, it is a tasty and easy dinner for those Fall evenings when you want to sit at the kitchen table and ponder on the changing of the seasons. But in Spring and Summer, my tastebuds end up craving for grilled pork belly - grilled anything, to be honest! - so that is what we did. We marinated the pork belly all day long in dark soy sauce (trust me, and tenderizes the skin to a point you cannot imagine) and garlic, drizzled it with olive oil and got it on a hot grilling skillet. It doesn't take long to cook, and the meat is melt in your mouth good, due to the soy sauce. You'll be craving for more in the end, and if you roast some bell peppers after, and some asparagus with only salt and lemon, you're in for a treat.