Goss “Hop Chef”
Gail Collins, the columnist who calls the New York Times Opinion pages home, loves a good name. One of her all-time favorites is Butch Otter, the Governor of the great state of Idaho about whom Collins wrote: “ That is not really the point (of her editorial) but I always enjoy writing “Gov. Butch Otter”. For me, there’s a chef’s name that I enjoy writing too: “Cosmo Goss”. But unlike Ms. Collins, I have a really good reason to write it. He created a dinner salad that I’ve made twice in a week. And not because I ruined it the first time. I just wanted more. Cosmo Goss is a chef at Publican restaurants in Chicago. Cosmo was recently named Brewery Ommegang’s “Hop Chef”, as winner of a cooking contest centered on–you guessed it–beer. This wonderful salad is also a salute to Pork Belly. As if it needed one: Pork Belly is everywhere. And proof of its popularity is its ever-escalating price. Mine came in at 4.99 lb. When ground pork is 3.69, you have to wonder why 4.99 for something that looks very much like extremely fatty bacon. However, one taste of this salad, with its sweet and slightly spicy dressing, golden slices of sauteed pear, tangy arugula and pork belly braised in an artisan ale will convince you that 4.99 is a very little price to pay. Once you’re over that hump, onto the next one, which is the cost of the requisite ale.
|Note: Father Hennepin’s canoe
is perilously close to the Falls!
Ommegang Hennepin hails from Cooperstown NY. It gets its Hennepin name from the first European explorer to visit Niagara Falls, Father Louis Hennepin. The ale is “brewed with grains of Paradise, Coriander, Ginger and sweet orange peel” according to its label. I couldn’t find the 16 oz. size Cosmo’s recipe calls for. My 1 pint 9.4 oz bottle set me back 8.99. And this was at Trader Joe’s. If I knew anything about ale, I might have been able to find a lower priced competitor. But there’s no question that the braise benefited from this spicy golden brew. You can taste it in the pork belly and the braising liquid which you use to make the ‘dressing’ for the salad. What’s more, once you’ve extracted what you need to make the salad, you’ll have enough left over for a glass or two of Hennepin to enjoy alongside it. To Cosmo’s recipe I added one other ingredient. Tiny little boiled potatoes. This made it a dinner salad, a supremely satisfying one-dish meal. I cut the amount of pork belly in half but kept the dressing exactly as Cosmo instructed. Here’s his recipe which is said to serve 8. I think if it’s dinner, it serves 4.
Let pork cool; cut into 2″ pieces
Add remaining oil and pork to skillet, and cook until brown and slightly crisp, 5–7 minutes. Add vinegar mixture; cook until sauce is thick, 2–3 minutes.
Transfer to bowl with pears and add potatoes and arugula; toss to combine.