Seattle, WA: Skillet Celebrates 5th Birthday with 1st Cookbook

By New Day Producers | KING5.com

There’s no doubt that Seattle’s street food scene has really taken off in the last few years. You can pretty much find any kind of craving rolling around on four wheels.

Seattle’sSkillet Street Food was one of the pioneers in bringing gourmet grub to curbsides, via a slick-looking airstream trailer. This summer marks their five-year anniversary and they’ve just released their first cookbook of fancy street eats.

“People want food that’s quick, but they also want to know where their food is coming from,” Skillet founder chef Josh Henderson of Seattle’s growing food truck scene. “I think a lot of food trucks nowadays are focusing on foods that is real chef driven, knowing where your food is from, from farm to table, and knowing where ingredients are from. It’s also enable people to check out food that they wouldn’t necessarily have at a restaurant – there’s less commitment.”

Skillet is celebrating its fifth anniversary and book launch at a party on July 22nd at Shilshole Bay Beach club in Ballard. Tickets include a signed copy of the cookbook, dinner, drinks, and dancing to live soul music. It’s gonna be a super fun beach party! For tickets, click here.

Josh shares how he makes one of Skillet’s signature dishes, pork belly and waffles. Below is an excerpt from “The Skillet Cookbook – A Street Food Manifesto” that includes the tasty recipe.

Leavened cornmeal waffle with braised pork belly and sunny-side egg

Makes 4 to 5 waffles

The showstopper of all breakfasts, our pork belly and waffle will wow the folks at your breakfast table.  The smell alone will stop them in their tracks, and upon plating, it’s tough to wait for the fork.  The dish is savory-sweet, an indulgence, but it – along with our burger – was one of the original dishes on the tuck that people consistently went crazy over.

The idea game from an amazing brunch I had at Le Pigeon in Portland.  They were doing a dish with waffles and a braise on top.  I think they were using something wild like offal; to me pork belly sounded just great.  Putting all of these components together involves a lot of advance planning, but it pays off: you don’t wait until Sunday morning to cure a pork belly for Sunday brunch, but once you take a day to cure a batch, it’ll supply you for many meals.

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE LEVAIN:

¼ cup Skillet Orange-Rye Starter (recipe attached)

1 ¾ cups warm water (80 to 90 degrees F)

3 ½ cups 50-50 Flour Blend (recipe attached)

FOR THE WAFFLE BATTER

½ cup whole milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 eggs, beaten

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour

2 tablespoons cornmeal

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons sugar

1 ¼ teaspoons salt

2 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract

FOR ASSEMBLY:

8 ounces Pork Belly (recipe attached)

4 Sunny-Side Eggs (recipe attached)

We use a yeasted waffle that involves creating a sourdough starter (recipe available in the Skillet Cookbook).   That also takes an initial time investment – a couple of minutes a day over eight days – but once you put in that work, you’ll have a starter you can use for waffles or breads whenever you want, adding great character to your food.  A starter is like a complex wine: when you develop a live food over time, you create all sorts of different flavors.  The starter is mixed with flour into a levain, which is sort of an intermediate step between the starter and the loaf.  The levain is proofed and then mixed with eggs, more flour, and other ingredients to make the final batter.  You can substitute a less intensely flavored waffle to serve with the pork belly and eggs, but I hope you’ll give ours a try.

DIRECTIONS

1.    To prepare the levain, the day before you want to serve your waffles, combine the starter and water in a large bowl.  Gently whisk together just to incorporate until the starter is dissolved and then add the flour blend.  Mix again until the levain is smooth with no lumps. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the levain to rise in a draft-free place for 4 to 6 hours, or until it has developed a large amount of bubbles.  To test if it’s ready, fill a container with warm water.  Scoop out a teaspoon of the levain and drop it into the water.  If the levain floats, it’s ready.  If it sinks to the bottom, it hasn’t developed enough and needs to ferment longer.  You should have about 4 cups.

2.    To prepare the waffle batter, warm the milk in a small saucepan to take the chill off (aim for about 80 degrees F when measured with an instant-read thermometer).  In a large bowl, mix the milk with ¼ cup of the levain until it is dissolved.  (You can refrigerate the rest of the levain to make waffles another day; it should last for a week.)  Add the butter and eggs and whisk together.  In a separate large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and pastry flours, cornmeal, cornstarch, sugar, and salt, making sure that there are no clumps.  In three batches, add the flour mixture to the milk mixture, stirring just to combine after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla.  Cover the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

3.    To assemble the dish, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

4.    Place the pork belly strips in a roasting pan and add any reserved braising liquid.  Place the pan in the oven and heat through, about 8 minutes.

5.    While the pork belly heats, make the waffles.  Warm a waffle iron as directed.  Scoop 2 to 3 ounces of the batter onto the iron, using a small ladle or ice cream scoop and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

6.    Place a waffle on each plate with an egg on top, then add a piece of pork belly off to the side, but still on top of, the waffle.  Simmer any braising liquid left over from the pork belly until it is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.  Skim any foam off the top, and spoon it like a syrup over everything.