RECIPE: Straight From Crete! Caramelised Pork

At the Lato Hotel in Crete, Brillant Restaurant chef Zinonas Christofidis creates ancient-based specialities like crispy filo rolls and vegetable orzo with aged, baked Feta cheese.

The recipe he's sharing today for us is "inspired by traditional Cretan cuisine, and the Cretan diet, but recreated with a modern twist."

Caramelised pork belly, with garlicky honey and raki glaze, over wild mushroom mousse, with crushed olive "dust."

YUM! Perfect for a meat eating significant other...


For the pork belly

• 200 grams boneless pork belly
• 50 milliliters beer
• 10 grams salt
• 5 grams sugar
• 1 gram freshly grounded green pepper
• 5 milliliters extra virgin Cretan olive oil

For the wild mushroom sauce

• 20 grams pleurotus
• 20 grams king trumpet mushrooms
• 20 grams shiitake mushrooms
• 15 grams finely chopped onion
• 1 gram garlic
• fresh thyme
• 10 grams fresh cream
• 5 grams hard Cretan cheese (or Gruyère)
• 10 millilitersextra virgin Cretan olive oil

For the "dust"

• 50 grams crushed Cretan organic olives.
• 3 grams sea salt.

For the glaze

• 100 milliliters water
• 40 millilitersRaki
• 1 clove of garlic .
• 8 star anise
• 100 milliliters vinegar
• 10 milliliters extra virgin Cretan olive oil
• 10 milliliters Cretan thyme honey


For the pork belly:

Marinate the pork belly with 50 milliliters beer, 10 grams salt, 5 grams sugar, 1 gram freshly grounded green pepper and 5 milliliters extra virgin Cretan olive oil, and refrigerate for 9 hours. When ready, cook in the preheated oven, at 170°C, for 2 hours.

For the mushroom sauce:

In a saucepan sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until wilted.  Add the mushrooms and thyme, and cook for 20 minutes. Pour into a food processor,  add cream and cheese, and puree till smooth, then pass the composition through a fine sieve.

For the "dust:"

Remove the pits, and rinse the olives well in plenty of water. Place on a griddle, and dry in the oven at 80°C for 2 hours. When dry, use a food processor to make the powder.

For the glaze:

In a saucepan place the water, the raki, the garlic, the sugar, and the anise, and simmer until caramelized. Remove from the heat and add the olive oil and honey.