Pork Belly with Spinach, Watercress and Hazelnuts

 This classic Piedmontese recipe uses pork belly, which is a pretty cheap cut that needs slow-roasting to get the best from it. It’s well worth the wait, though! For the perfect pork belly, make sure the oven is hot when you first add the meat and do follow this recipe carefully, adjusting the oven temperatures as instructed. This ensures you get the perfect combination of tender flesh and crisp crackling.

Serves 4. This is a delicious take on pork belly. Recipe extracted from Gino’s Healthy Italian for Less by Gino D’Acampo, published by Hodder & Stoughton.

 Photograph © Tamin Jones




  • 500g pork belly, cut into 4 strips
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 4 slices
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 500ml boiling water
  • 80g blanched hazelnuts
  • 80g mixed bag of fresh spinach, rocket and watercress
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC/gas mark 7.
  2. Using a very sharp knife, score the skin of the pork with several slits. Put the onion slices into a roasting tin and sit the pork on top with the skin facing upwards. Brush the skin with the oil, season well with salt and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 160º/gas mark 3. Pour the water around the onions and continue to cook for 1 hour. 4.
  4. Remove the roasting tin from the oven and rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 180ºC/gas mark 4, tip the hazelnuts onto a baking tray and toast for 8 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Roughly chop them and set aside.
  6. Arrange the spinach, rocket and watercress salad onto a large serving platter. Scatter over the nuts and drizzle over 4 tablespoons of the cooking liquid and the vinegar.
  7. Arrange the pork on top of the leaves, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
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