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--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Clay Pot Pork

It is extremely rare that I regard the product of one of these recipes with dismay, but Clay Pot Pork produced exactly that reaction.

Too salty. Unbearably salty.

This is inspired by Vietnamese cuisine, says the introductory paragraph, which often uses sweet and bitter together. The idea (and it's not posted on Epicurious so I can't show you) is to produce caramel by melting 1/3 c. sugar, then adding 1/3 c. fish sauce and 1 3/4 cup chicken stock. Then you add some other things (shallots, garlic, scallions) and cubed pork shoulder, which you braise for 2 hours.

Don't skimp on the fish sauce, the recipe says. It's necessary for authentic flavor.

Well, sure, if you don't mind your blood pressure going through the roof, and retaining every drop of fluid you drink for the next few days! OK, I exaggerate a bit, but part of my dismay is that I didn't cook it for myself, I cooked it for dinner for Dr. and Mrs. S. I can tell when a little pile of food starts stacking up on the edge of the plate that things aren't going well at the table, and sure enough, Dr. S. said, "What exactly am I eating here?"

Ugh, dagger to the heart. All that trust they have in me to feed them good and healthy food! I should point out that Mrs. S. ate most of hers--she does love salty food. And he does too, but for medical reasons he tries not to indulge. You may wonder why I decided to go with this recipe in the first place--I do know what fish sauce tastes like, after all--and all I can claim is temporary insanity.

Specifically, if you're looking for a parallel food you might have consumed, they taste sort of like the ribs you get on wooden skewers at Chinese restaurants for an appetizer. What are they called, Hong Kong Ribs or something like that? Kind of a sweet and salty lacquer.

Sounds tasty, right? Well, you can come over to my house and try it--I whisked the leftovers away so nobody would accidentally use them and gave them to my husband, who's not worried about his blood pressure.

Btw, for a post-super-salty meal, the best dessert? WATERMELON!!! Yum. Super yum. Dr. S. ate two bowls full.

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