Main Dish

Pig and Fig

Pech Merle Winery

21001 Geyserville Avenue
Geyserville, CA 95441

This rendition of "Pig and Fig" features slow-roasted pork belly served on crispy goat cheese polenta, all topped with a fresh fig-tomato compote.

  • 6 cups water
  • 3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 3 pounds pork belly
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 cup goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into large dice
  • 8 fresh figs, halved
  • 8 pear tomatoes, halved
  • 24 arugula leaves, plus more as needed


In a large container, combine 3 cups of the water, the brown sugar and the 1/3 cup salt and stir to dissolve. Submerge the pork belly in the brine and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. 

Preheat the oven to 350ˆF.

Remove the pork from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Place the pork in a roasting pan and roast, uncovered, until tender and the fat has cooked down. Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Slice the pork and cut into pieces about 1 inch square.

In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the remaining 3 cups water to a boil. Add the polenta in a slow, steady stream while stirring, then cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is thick but not stiff, about 20 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the goat cheese and the Parmesan, and stir until blended and creamy. Spread the polenta out in a shallow 9-by-13-inch pan and let cool. Cut the cooled polenta into twelve 3-inch squares.

In a frying pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, season lightly with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the figs and tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until caramelized. Any liquid from the tomatoes should be evaporated. Let cool.

To assemble, place a polenta square on a plate. Place a small dollop of the remaining 1/2 cup goat cheese on top. Stack a piece of pork belly on the cheese, then cover both with a fig and tomato half plus some of the compote. Garnish with 2 arugula leaves. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve at room temperature. 

Pech Merle Winery

21001 Geyserville Avenue
Geyserville, CA 95441