Recipe: Pork belly sliders with gamashio mayo and pickled daikon

Restauranteur, chef, and MasterChef Australia judge, Gary Mehigan, shares with us how to add a little something different to the usual slider recipe.

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Gamashio is a Japanese condiment made from sesame seeds that has a distinctive umami flavour, and it’s a wonderful seasoning for salads, fish and dressings. I like to use unhulled sesame seeds, which are available from health food stores.

Makes 12

1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 star anise
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
½ teaspoon cumin seeds sea salt flakes
1 kg deboned belly pork, skin on, scored at 5 mm intervals (ask your butcher to do this for you)
Boiling water, for blanching table salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 brioche buns (8–9 cm diameter)
1 quantity pickled daikon
1 large handful coriander leaves

GAMASHIO MAYONNAISE
½ cup (75 g) natural unhulled sesame seeds
2 teaspoons soft brown sugar sea salt flakes
1½ cups (375 ml) Mayonnaise

  1. Use a mortar and pestle to pound the fennel seeds, star anise, chilli flakes, cumin seeds and a good pinch of salt to a coarse powder, then transfer to a large plate.
  2. Place the pork, skin-side up, on a rack suspended over the sink and carefully pour over a kettle-full of boiling water. Pat dry with paper towel, then place the pork on the plate with the spices and rub in all over. Leave uncovered in the fridge for several hours (or overnight) to dry out.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C fan-forced (220°C conventional). Place the pork, skin-side up, in a heavy-based roasting tin. Rub the skin with 2 teaspoons table salt and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 140°C fan-forced and roast, basting regularly, for a further 2 hours. (After this time, if the skin is not as crisp as you’d like it, place the pork under the hot oven grill for 5–10 minutes.) Leave the pork to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into 2 cm thick slices and then halving lengthways to fit the brioche buns.
  4. Meanwhile, for the gamashio mayonnaise, place the sesame seeds in a heavy- based frying pan over low heat and toast, stirring regularly, for about 15 minutes or until fragrant, then set aside to cool completely. Place the seeds, sugar and a pinch of salt in a blender or small food processor and blend for 30 seconds or until fine but not too floury – some texture to the gamashio is good. Remove and set aside.
  5. Make the mayonnaise according to the instructions then, with the mayonnaise still in the food processor, add the gamashio. Process for 30 seconds until well combined. Add a teaspoon or so of warm water to make a slightly thinner consistency if you like.
  6. Cut the brioche buns in half and toast the cut-sides under the hot oven grill until golden. Spread both cut-sides of each bun with gamashio mayonnaise. Divide the pickled daikon among the bases, add a piece of pork belly, then top with plenty of coriander and the bun lid.

Gary Mehigan Favourites Cookbook

This recipe features in Gary Mehigan’s cookbook, Favourites, published by Lantern, RRP $49.99.

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