Sunday I was so excited for church to end that I could barely sit still during the last hour. Not because I had to get home and watch the final World Cup match, but because I had to get home and finish cooking something I had been wanting to make since I first held the Momofuku Cookbook in my hands.
Almost two years ago, when my dear brothers were visiting me here in the city, we had lunch at the Ssam bar and I ate one of the best things I've ever had there: their grilled pork belly ssam with amazing pickled mustard seed mustard sauce. Within weeks the dish was off the menu, never to return . . . but today I did my best to resurrect it.
In my Saturday-night gathering of ingredients I was unable to get my hands on two key items: pork belly and spicy chinese mustard. I just bought some pork loin (cut for stir frying, because that was about my only option) and rubbed it with salt and sugar and left it in the fridge overnight and into the day like you're supposed to do with the pork belly and hoped for the best. Like, I knew I would not be getting the proto-bacon deliciousness of pork belly, but if I could get a nice char on my pork and if the salt and sugar could infiltrate it and flavor it up a bit, I'd consider this aberation from the recipe success.
Guess what? Char achieved, sweetness attained. Pork loin roasting: full success.
The wonderful mustard seed mustard sauce calls for heaps of pickled mustard seed (which I made so long ago, fortunately it keeps forever) along with tbs after tbs of diced pickled cucumbers, scallions, dijon mustard, kewpi mayo, and Chinese spicy mustard. I went to so many grocery stores Saturday and not a single stinking one had Chinese spicy mustard, so I did without. The resulting mustard seed mustard sauce was marvelous BUT definitely could have used the kick and the reducing of the predominate dijon flavor that the Chinese spicy mustard would have provided.
But still, for a quick Sunday evening supper, it was so great. If you had been around, I would have shared. That's how good it was. See, I'm not so terrible.