His restaurant Perennial is directly across the street, so Poli rarely finds occasion to shop at a farmers’ market other than Green City. But when we sent the chef to the decidedly smaller Lincoln Park market, he was pleasantly surprised. “The people there were really nice,” he says. Plus, “there weren’t any strollers or guitar players.” While there, Poli came across Stover’s Farm for the first time, and immediately became smitten with its strawberries. He started thinking of desserts to make with them, but when he came across mustard greens he changed his mind—the thought of the greens’ earthy spice mingling with the sweetness of the strawberries was too alluring to ignore. But he was still in a decadent mood, so he settled on the fattiness of dessert without the sugar: sous vide pork belly.
Find Stover’s Farm strawberries at the Lincoln Park farmers’ market, 2001 N Orchard St (in the Lincoln Park High School parking lot), 7am–2pm through Oct 30.
Stover’s Farm Strawberry Salad with balsamic reduction, purple mustard greens and pork belly
½ pt strawberries, cut into spears
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup plus ¼ tsp balsamic vinegar
2 stalks purple mustard greens
16 oz pork belly
1. Toss the strawberries with the olive oil and quarter teaspoon of balsamic. Set aside to stand for 20 minutes.
2. Bring a well-salted pot of water to a boil and blanch the greens for two to three minutes. Remove the greens, plunge them in a bowl of ice water, and drain on towels.
3. In a heavy saucepan, simmer the remaining balsamic vinegar until it reduces to a quarter cup. Set aside to cool.
4. Season pork belly with salt and pepper and prepare for sous vide*: Place into a food-saver bag and seal according to manufacturer’s directions. Simmer the belly in circulator at 155 degrees for 7 to 12 hours, making sure to keep the belly submerged the entire time. Take out of water bath and submerge in ice water, then let cool. Remove cooled belly from bag and cut into eight thin rectangles.
5. Heat grill and cook the belly portions until brown and rendered on both sides.
6. Arrange some of the strawberry salad on the plate. Heat the mustard greens in a saucepan with salt, pepper and a little olive oil, and add to plate. Arrange the pork belly portions on and around the strawberries, dot the plate with balsamic reduction and serve.
* No sous vide machine? Place the pork belly in a heavy-duty plastic bag and push out excess air. Seal the bag and place in a pot of barely simmering water (at 155 degrees), fully submerged, for 7 to 12 hours. Submerge in ice water and let cool.