- Pig cheek or piece of pork belly, or 2 turkey thighs; all should have their skin, and total weight should be between 2 1/2 and 3 pounds
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Lard, duck fat or oil or a mixture (ideally enough to cover the meat, 6 to 8 cups)
- 1 large slice of good bread (1 inch thick and about the same size as the cooked meat)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red-wine or sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons chopped capers
- 8 cups dandelions or other bitter greens like frisée (3 or 4 heads) or a mixture.
6 to 8 servings
- Sprinkle the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Refrigerate overnight, uncovered.
- When you’re ready to cook, rinse the meat in cold water; if you’re using the oven (see next step), heat to 300. Put the fat in a pot that will allow you to submerge the meat, or nearly so. If you’re using lard or duck fat, heat it in the oven until melted; if you’re using oil, warm it.
- Submerge the meat in the fat, put a piece of parchment paper directly on top and weigh the paper down with something (I used a wooden spoon) to keep it in place. Cook slowly on top of the stove or in the oven, adjusting the heat as necessary so the fat bubbles gently — not rapidly — and turning the meat once or twice if it is not completely submerged. (You may wind up cooking at a temperature as low as 250.) It’s done when you can easily pierce it with a skewer, 2 hours or longer for cheek and belly, 1 hour for turkey.
- Remove the meat from the fat. Proceed or refrigerate the meat, lightly covered, for a day or two. Heat the oven to 350. (If you’re using turkey, drizzle the bread with olive oil.) Place the meat skin-side up directly on top of the slice of bread (you want the meat to just cover the bread; any bread that’s exposed may burn). Put on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and roast, checking occasionally and adjusting the heat as necessary, until the skin becomes quite crisp, as little as 45 minutes or somewhat longer. Remove.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, capers, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning; the dressing should be quite sharp. Wash and dry the greens. If you’re using turkey, pull out the thigh bones (they should slip out easily). With the meat still on top of the bread, chop the meat and bread into bite-size pieces (it doesn’t matter if it crumbles a bit). Toss with the greens and the dressing, and serve.
2 days, mostly unattended