Here on the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. On the last go-around, chef Michael Lomonaco of Porter House in New York was wowed by the octopus salad at Michael White's Osteria Morini. So we queried White about his best recent edible experience. Here's his response.
"[It was] the fried pork and crispy oyster salad at Kin Shop. The pork belly is perfectly cooked and the flavors were incredible in this dish."
And now, Kin Shop chef Harold Dieterle explains the secrets to the salad's deliciousness:
I first had a dish very similar in Thailand in 2003, in Kosamui. There were no fried oysters on it; it was strictly fried pork, celery, and green-tomato salad. This is my twist on that. Its very much about the decadence between the fried pork and fried oyster salad. I wanted to add oysters to it I like the texture, were getting really, really big West Coast Oysters in, they have a nice salinity, a nice brine. Its nice when you have a really crunchy piece of pork and you get that pop from the oyster. Also in the dish are some shallots, some mint, pickled red onions, and chile-lime vinaigrette. Baby celery leaves go on top as a garnish.
I fry the pork belly and the oysters separately. The pork belly we braise first to get it nice and tender, then we slice it up into quarter-inch pieces and deep-fry it. The oyster gets flour-dredged, then its fried. Thai salads are generally overdressed compared to salads we have here in the States. You dont want to overdress it, because then your pork belly and oyster get soggy. I dont toss the pork belly and oyster in the dressing, I toss the rest of the salad in the dressing, then I let the dressing cascade down to the proteins.