Stegt flæsk med persillesovs has been declared the national dish of Denmark several times and dates back to 1890. The dish consists of 1 cm thick slices of pork breast seasoned with lots of salt. With the meat are boiled potatoes and parsley sauce, a milk-based sauce made with the meat juices, a little sugar and lemon juice or zest, and lots of chopped parsley. Many Danes also like some pickled beetroot.
The “Stegt Flæsk med persillesovs” is a must to eat once a week – and especially during the cold winter season – although the succulent pork can be eaten all year round. In the summer, the Danes have a regular outdoor party to grill or barbecue their pork belly slices.
- For a very crispy crackle: at least 8 hours before cooking (ideally the night before), dry the pork rind well with kitchen paper. Score the crust with a sharp knife at 5mm intervals (stop before you get to the meat). Sprinkle with 1 tsp sea salt and refrigerate uncovered. After 2 hours, wipe off any liquid that has drawn the salt to the surface. Replace with a fresh sprinkling of salt and refrigerate. Repeat 1-2 times. Remove the meat from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 240°C. Prepare an oven dish with baking paper or a wire rack. Place the baking tray/grid in the center of the oven. Run a knife along the score lines in the peel. Dry the zest with kitchen paper, rub the zest with the halved lemon and season with the sea salt.
Place the pork, rind side up, on the rack and roast uncovered until rind (about 25 minutes). Reduce the oven to 160°C and roast for a further 1½ hours until the meat is very tender. Remove from oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing into 8 thin slices.
Towards the end of cooking, place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Cook for 20 minutes or until tender.
For the parsley sauce, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Add the parsley, cream and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
Serve the pork with the potatoes, steamed/roasted vegetables and drizzle with parsley sauce.