The Coffee Table Read

POLPO

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One of London's hottest restaurateurs has released a cookbook. It's every bit as beautiful as you'd expect...

It’s difficult to walk between Soho and Covent Garden without stumbling across a newly opened Russell Norman restaurant. Luckily, given his glittering industry background (he was formerly Operations Director for Caprice Holdings) the man knows what he’s doing.

His ever-expanding empire currently comprises of five restaurants - Mishkin’s on Catherine Street (a jewish deli with a gin bar), Spuntino on Rupert Street (a Brooklyn diner) and three branches of Polpo, Norman’s take on Venetian bacaro-style dining.

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It is the latter that is celebrated in POLPO: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts), a beautifully-bound book of 140 recipes. With the help of Jenny Zarins' vivid photography, learn to cook warm duck salad with wet walnuts and beets, crispy baby pizzas with prosciutto and rocket or scallops with lemon and peppermint - or experiment with our exclusive recipe, below.

Alternatively, just leave the book ostentatiously on your kitchen counter so you can be smug when you've got guests round, and then go out for dinner at Polpo (get there early, though - annoyingly, you still can't book).

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Pork belly, radicchio & hazelnuts

200g hazelnuts
1 onion, thickly sliced
1kg pork belly
Flaky sea salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large head of radicchio
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and roast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 5 minutes, taking care they do not burn. Leave to cool then roughly chop.

Turn the oven up to 240°C/Gas 9. Put the sliced onion into a roasting tin and place the pork belly on top, skin-side up. While the oven comes up to temperature, score the skin of the pork with a very sharp knife or a razor blade. You could use a clean Stanley knife from your toolbox. Rub salt into the skin and smear with a little oil. Place the pork in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until browned.

Turn the oven down to 160°C/Gas 4 and continue to cook for about 1 hour or until tender. During the cooking time add a little water if the pork and onions start sticking or burning. Remove the pork belly when cooked and allow to rest and cool slightly. Collect all juices from the pan and pass through a fine sieve.

Core the radicchio and remove all the leaves, tearing the larger ones in half. Place in a large mixing bowle. Use the warm pork fat and juices to dress the radicchio salad with the toasted and chopped hazelnuts.

Slice the pork belly and place in the bowl with the radicchio and hazelnuts. Splash over the red wine vinegar and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Scrunch the salad together with your hands so that the dressing mixes through and the radicchio warms and wilts.

(serves four to six)

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