Lechon Asado (Cuban Roast Pork)

I wish there was such a thing as “smell-a-vision” because I would love for you to smell the lechon asado roasting in the oven.  The smell of citrus, garlic, onion, and pork is permeating through the house.  It’s intoxicating.

We just got back from a week vacation to NYC visiting my brother and sister-in-law.  A restaurant that we were excited to cross off our NYC foodie bucket list was Cafe Habana in the Nolita (North of Little Italy) District.  The restaurant was featured specifically for their grilled corn (read the restaurant review) on Food Networks’ “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”  We went there for dinner and it ended up being one of the best meals we ate in NYC, and trust me, we ate a lot of great meals.  I had the cuban sandwich was to die for.

The sandwich inspired me to recreate this dish at home.  So I starting marinating the pork butt yesterday afternoon, and it is now slowly roasting in our oven.

Lechon Asado (from 3 Guys from Miami)

3 pounds pork butt/shoulder
20 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups sour orange juice (or use two parts orange juice to one part lemon juice to one part lime juice)
1 cup onion, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 cup Spanish olive oil

Mash the garlic and salt together with a mortar and pestle.

Add dried oregano, onion, and the sour orange juice to the mash and mix thoroughly.

Pierce pork as many times as you can with a sharp knife or fork.

Heat oil in a small sauce pan, add the mash to the oil and whisk.

Pour garlic mixture (save a little for roasting) over pork, cover and let sit in refrigerator for 2-3 hours or preferably overnight.

To roast in the oven, preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the pork, fattest side up, in an open roasting pan. Place pan in oven and reduce temperature to 225 degrees F. Spoon extra marinade over the roast occasionally as it cooks. Using a meat thermometer, roast should be removed from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees F. — for fork tender, “pulled-pork” quality. (If you want a roast you can slice, remove when the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F.)

Immediately cover with foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing or shredding.

Serve with rice, Cuban black beans, and sweet plantains… or better yet, make a Cuban sandwich!

What’s your favorite way of enjoying lechon asado?

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Miso-Marinated Salmon

I’ve come across many recipes for “miso-marinated black cod” and “Nobu’s miso black cod,” while perusing foodie blogs and finally had the opportunity to make it.  My bestie was spending the night with us, and I wanted to make something light, but yummy.  So I brought the gourmet on and went with Nobu’s notorious miso black cod.  We went to Whole Foods to get ingredients for our salad and fish.  But to our dismay, Whole Foods rarely carries black cod unless it’s special ordered.  So onto plan B.  Unfortunately, I had NO plan B!!  After a somewhat stressful trip to the fish counter, we ended up leaving with salmon.  I prayed to the foodie gods that the recipe work just as well for salmon as it does for black cod.

And guess what?!  The recipe was perfect.

Miso-Marinated Salmon (adapted from Nobuyuki Matsihisa)

2 pounds salmon filet, skinned (about four 7-8 ounce filets each)
1 1/2 cups white miso
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups mirin
3/4 cups sake

Combine miso and sugar in the top of a double boiler.  Add sake and mirin, and whisk to combine, using a heavy whisk.  Cook over boiling water, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved and the color begins to darken, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool.

Place fish in 1 layer in a shallow dish.  Pour miso mixture over fish, turning to coat thoroughly.  Cover with plastic wrap, and marinate in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, turning once a day.

Heat broiler to high.  Remove fish from marinade, and place on a baking sheet. Broil until caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes.  With a flat spatula, turn fish, and broil 2 to 3 minutes more.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.