by Susan Cohen
Guests at the Every Day with Rachael Ray Presents This Little Piggy: Pop-Up Market at Lowndes Grove Plantation this afternoon had to sing for their supper, so to speak. Before they could tuck into any of the delicious pork-based products prepared by some of the country’s best chefs, they had to watch one of those chefs — April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig and author of A Girl and Her Pig — butcher one of Caw Caw Creek’s prized swines.
Then it was time to eat.
And we’re sure anyone who lost their appetite while witnessing Bloomfield eviscerating Babe got it back fairly quickly when they started making the rounds. Bloomfield served pork rillettes with biardiniera pickles, using some extra ingredients she says she got from the rooftop garden at Husk. Naomi Pomeroy (of Portland, Ore.’s Beast) had slices of maple-brined pork loin stuffed with hazelnut blood sausage and served with tasty pickled oyster mushrooms. Next to her, Miami celebuchef Michelle Bernstein (Crumb on Parchment, Michy’s) offered up a refreshing salad with jalapeno-ranch dressing and crispy pig ear alongside a decadent mouthful of pork jowl ravioli.
Top Chef: Texas contestant, James Beard nominee, and 610 Magnolia chef Edward Lee served sliders alongside a refreshing chilled yellow squash soup, but our favorite dish had to be Bruce Aidells’ (as in the guy whose sausage you buy at the grocery store). His lentil stew with heirloom pork, kale, and garlic sausage is one of those epic cold weather meals you wish you were talented enough to prepare at home — and you can, since the recipe is in his cookbook.
And pork (in bacon form) even made its way into the day’s dessert, a belly, banana, toffee, and coffee panini topped with bacon dust, and served with a side of bacon brittle by MIami-based Hedy Goldsmith, the executive pastry chef of the Genuine Hospitality Group. We’re not entirely sure what bacon dust is, but we like it.