A great salad is the perfectly balanced sum of contrasting flavors and textures—bitter, rich, salty, sweet, soft, crunchy—using super fresh ingredients. It’s what the snack food industry calls the bliss point, at which human resistance is futile (see: peanut butter-filled pretzels).
Case in point: the pork belly stone fruit salad at Charleston, South Carolina’s year-old paean to regional seafood, Chubby Fish. Chef-owner James London, whose treatment of fish coming out of nearby waters is matched only by his way with local produce, dreamt up the fan favorite after a hog farmer dropped off six pork bellies last summer. Ripe peaches and plums and a handful of herbs lift the lardons into a bright and balanced dish that, as he puts it, “eats nice and clean.” At home, London swaps the pork belly with Benton’s bacon, dusting it with rice flour before rendering for a crisp edge that absorbs the lime dressing and sets the flavors. With grilled fish and a cold txakolina, that’s bliss for you.