Momofuku ko just might be one the hippest new place in New York. Want reservations? There's no phone (or at least, no phone number), so the internet is the only way to secure a seat, and even then, you might have to wait. So let the fickle IT girls go to the new hot spot while you check out chef David Chang's other two restaurants, Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Ssäm. (Momofuku, by the way, means 'lucky peach' in Japanese. Go figure.)
His cuisine? Fare by Chang, a.k.a., The Pork King (and GQ magazine's Chef of the Year), nods to Asia, but he also has a clear appreciation for good-quality American products. In addition to featuring country ham from Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee, Chef Chang also offers DeBragga natural pork from Iowa. DeBragga has a long legacy in the New York meat scene: the company began in Brooklyn in the 1920s, then moved to Washington Street to the meat market in the 1930s. Today, DeBragga meats are a favorite of Daniel Boulud, Laurent Tourandel, Eric Rupert, Charlie Palmer and yes, David Chang.
But you don't have to go to New York to enjoy five-star ingredients; go to www.debragga.com and have the shopping done for you. The follow recipe is one of Chang's most famous dishes, and is meant to serve a crowd. What to drink? Wine director/General Manager, Cory Lane suggests dry Gewürztraminers or off-dry Rieslings to stand up to the robust Asian flavors.
Recipe from David Chang, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, New York
Serves 10 to 12 with leftovers
2 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons salt
One 10-ound bone-in Iowa Free Range Boston pork butt, available at DeBragga.com
4 whole small red chilies, washed and stemmed
4 whole small green chilies, washed and stemmed
1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
4 cups uncooked rice (preferably Korean rice, available at specialty food stores)
2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated, washed and carefully dried
Sagyegeol ssäm jang (Korean soybean paste), for serving, optional
Salted shrimp, for serving, optional
1 pound kimchee (either cabbage or daikon kimchee is fine)
• The night before serving the Bo Ssäm, place 2 cups of the sugar and 2 cups of the salt in bowl or stock pot large enough to hold the pork butt. Add 6 cups water and stir until sugar and salt have dissolved. Place the pork butt in the brine solution. Be sure the pork is submerged; weigh it down with a heavy plate, if necessary. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
• Remove seeds from the peppers if desired (leave them intact for a hotter flavor.) Slice peppers thinly on the diagonal. Mix the remaining 1/3 cup sugar with the remaining 1/3 cup salt and 1 cup water in a bowl until dissolved. Add the chilies and set aside.
• Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry. Transfer the pork to a large, 6-inch deep backing dish and cook uncovered in the oven for about 6 ½ to 7 ½ hours or until fork-tender, basting the pork with the pan drippings every hour. When the meat easily pulls away from the bone, sprinkle the exterior with a mixture of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon salt.
• Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees F and continue roasting until the outside appears crunchy and well-caramelized. Remove from the oven. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm while you make the rice (or make the rice ahead of time and reheat when ready to serve.)
• Rinse the rice well to remove any sediment. Combine 7 cups cold water, 1 tablespoon salt, and the rice in a large pot or rice cooker and cook for 20 minutes or until tender and water is absorbed.
• Place the pork on a large serving platter surrounded with the pickled chilies. Arrange the Korean rice, ssäm jang, salted shrimp, kimchee, and lettuce in separate bowls. Allow guests to assemble their ssäm by wrapping each component in a lettuce leaf.