I first had a slice of this as a tapa in Bar Lucero in Cuevas De Almanzora. On a dreary winter day when we had had a dreary morning chasing officialdome – a frequent occurrence here – to brighten ourselves a bit we stopped for a small glass of and a tapa before going home for lunch. It was a cold slice and the mix of the salty olives, garlic and lots of coarsely ground black pepper as a seasoning to the slightly fatty pork immediately caught the attention of my taste buds. It was further seasoned with a squeeze of fresh lemon and drizzled with olive oil. Suitably brightened we stayed for another glass so we could check out what other tapas were good. The pork however remained the star of the show.
For a piece of belly pork weighing about 1.5 kilos – with or without skin, and if there are any bones remove them or have the butcher remove them for you.
200 gms green olives – the bright green ones that have been crushed to open the skin and then cured in brine are best, but if you can only get the ones that are cured to a yellowy green colour and are softer in texture then use those.
6 fat cloves of sweet garlic
3 large eggs – hard boiled
1 table spoon coarsely ground black pepper
Peel and finely chop the garlic.
Coarsely chop the olives removing the stones if they have them.
Mix the olives and garlic together.
If your pork belly has skin and you want crackling, then score the skin either in stripes or a diamond pattern. Salt the skin and leave for half an hour for the salt to draw out any moisture. Wipe dry with kitchen roll.
Lay the pork on a board skin/fat side down and season all over with the black pepper. Spread the olive mix evenly over the surface. There is no need for salt as the olives are salty.
Peel the eggs and slice them. Lay the slices over the olive layer. Roll the pork and tie it.
Roast at 160 Centigrade for 3 hours. If you have crackling, then roast for 2.5 hours at 160 Centigrade then turn the oven up to 240 Centigrade and roast for another half hour.
Remove the meat from the oven and let rest in a warm place for 20 minutes before carving.
To serve cold I like to not only season the meat with lemon juice and olive oil as described above, but I save the juices and fat that have come out of the meat while it was cooking and I let that go cold in the fridge. Then you can remove the fat from the top, and save for frying potatoes, and below will be some lovely brown tasty jelly. Cut this into cubes and serve these as an extra seasoning on the cold slices of pork.