Crunchy pork and plump figs are a match made in heaven.
4-bone rack of pork, skin on and chine bone removed
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 fresh figs
500ml vegetable oil
good-quality aged balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
The night before cooking, use a very sharp knife or one-sided razor blade to make cuts in the pork skin from top to bottom, running in the same direction as the bones, about 3mm apart (don't go too deep into the flesh). Rub sea salt into the skin. Place the rack in the fridge overnight, uncovered, to dry the skin and promote crunchy crackling.
The next day, preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the pork on a wire rack in a roasting tin and roast, undisturbed, for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 160°C, add the figs and cook for 30 minutes or until the meat's core temperature reaches about 71°C. When done, turn the oven temperature down to about 60°C. (Leave the door ajar to hasten cooling, if you like.)
Rest the meat in the cool oven for about 30 minutes. Check the meat's core temperature again; it should be about 75°C.
Just before serving, heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan until just smoking. Remove the roasting tin from the oven and, using a spoon, pour the hot oil gently over the pork skin to complete the crackling.
Place the meat on a chopping board and cut it into 4 cutlets. Place each cutlet on a serving plate with a fig. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and serve immediately.
Hot tips: Peaches are also fantastic with the pork if you aren't a fig fan. I also like it with mustard fruits. Peas and spinach are great with the pork. Or a pumpkin, sweet potato or potato purée would be, in the words of cricket commentator Mark Nicholas, "smashing, baby".