We have already spoken in depth about the meaty joy that is Parma Ham. Brief recap! Parma Ham is one of those products where you are gifted instant flavour, the work all being done by the producer before it hits your plate. It is preservative free, being just Pork + Air + Salt + Time and lessons learned from history and generations of prior producers. Parma Ham plays well with others and gifts instant depth of flavour to many things. It makes a lovely crisp jacket when you wrap other things in it, whether that is a bundle of green beans or asparagus, a lovely piece of fish or in this case pork belly.
Parma Ham is a perfect partner for pork belly
My pork belly obsession is well documented. It is a perfect roast, yes, especially when you roast it slow. It is brilliantly flexible beyond this though. I have taken to cooking smaller amounts of pork belly quicker with excellent results. This Parma Ham wrapped pork belly is a perfect example and it is so good. The ham keeps all the pork belly juices inside as it cooks, and gives it an extra deeply savoury layer.
On the side, as much as I love the humble spud and a slick plate of mash, I go for beans here. Beans also make great mash and they are especially nice for summer or Autumn. I like to use a plump butter bean (or better yet, Greek gigantes beans). Not only do they make a delicious mash, they make an instant one too. Protein rich with a hint of garlic and savouriness of rosemary. Those roasting juices from the pork belly wrapped with Parma Ham are sublime and elevate everything.
You can of course use a favourite chilli oil or one that you have at home. I provide a recipe for a simple one here flavoured with garlic and chilli. Play around, make a peppercorn oil, add herbs as it cools down (not at the beginning or they will burn). Homemade oils bring brilliant flavour. If you don’t want chilli make a simple herb oil by blending a flavourful herb (like oregano or basil) with some oil, allowing it to infuse and then pass it through a coffee filter or similar and you are good to go.
- 500g pork belly, skin removed cut into inch thick strips about an inch in diameter
- Parma Ham to wrap around the pork belly strips (12-15 slices should do it)
- 500g cooked white beans (like butter beans or gigantes), or 2 drained tins of white beans
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary (needles only)
- 75ml extra virgin olive oil and meat juices
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 100ml neutral oil
- 2 tbsp chilli flakes
- Sea salt
- flat leaf parsley
- sliced spring onions (I used red ones here)