Above: Just like Mom used to make—Chef Nick Marino’s confit of pork belly served on a skewer with a delicate slice of apple wrapped in equally delicate prosciutto. Photo: Christopher Maharry.
By Wini Moranville
Last Thursday evening, I headed to the Meredith Test Kitchen to serve on the panel of judges for Scrumptious Skewers Challenge. The Iowa Pork Producers sponsored the event in conjunction with Winefest Des Moines. And the winner was … Nick Marino, who heads up the culinary team at the Hilton Downtown Des Moines. He made a lot of people happy with his confit of pork belly served on a skewer with a delicate slice of apple wrapped in equally delicate prosciutto. Find out more about this new-to-town chef in this recent dsm story.
Marino edged out Ryan Baber, chef de cuisine at Splash Seafood Bar and Grill. Baber’s scrumptious skewers speared plush squares of pork belly (milk-braised, then seared) alongside a plump dried fig stuffed with Maytag blue cheese. The kebabs were drizzled with a sweet-tart sauce (a pork gastrique, if you must know), and the plate arrived prettied up with a few petals of spring-green Dew Drop cabbage—an artisanal cabbage that’s milder and more tender than your usual variety.
Although last week’s event was held for patrons and sponsors of Winefest, you can get a taste of Nick Marino’s winning skewer at the Iowa Pork Lawn Party on Sunday, June 3, at Jasper Winery. The event corrals Iowa food vendors, wineries and breweries, who offer samples of their food and drinks. Get tickets and learn more at WineFestDesMoines.com.
Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.