How delicious does a Crispy Pig’s Ear Salad sound? I know. Incredibly delicious.
You may remember that I postulated that my off the cuff whim of buying pig’s ears might result in a pig’s ear carbonara from the Foodie Penpals Recipe … well, Crispy Pig’s Ear Salad is not that. Mostly because I kept coming across people saying how good crispy pig’s ears are. (You know who you are, Brian.)
You do need to prepare your ears first. Shave the hairs off (Bic razors are a good tool) and then scrub all the crevices (a toothbrush is another good tool) to remove any dirt/wax. It’s not as gross as it sounds. I did it when I roasted Arthur.
Then you need to poach your ears in a delicious stock. Since they are made up of skin, cartilage, tiny bits of meat and other thin tissues, there isn’t a huge amount of flavour there already, but they do carry the stock flavours on.
Here the ears are in their poaching liquid. I poached them for two hours until the skin was just beginning to come away. I added a bay leaf, a bouquet garni and a fresh lovage leaf (bobbing in the middle of the picture). When you fish the ears out, don’t through the stock away. The stock is awesome.* In fact if I was to make pork stock again I’d probably just use ears.
Now they are ready for you to make creations with. For a crispy pig’s ear salad, you need to slice the ear into long strips, that you then toss in corn flour and fry. I got most of my instructions from After Hours with Iggy – go check an awesome food blog!
That is the cross-section of a pig’s ear. Informative. Biological. Interesting. The white line is the cartilage and the pinkier bit at the bottom is some meat. Don’t worry about the cartilage being too tough. The poaching and then the frying makes it tasty nice! So cut as many fine slices as you want to eat. Then toss them in corn flour (for extra crispness – it makes a big difference to the taste). Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a pan (or if you have a deep fat fryer use that) and fry them until they are pretty crispy.
Sizzling in the pan! I used olive oil so they take about 4 mins on a high heat to get to the Crispy Factor. If you use sunflower oil that gets hotter, so it will probably take less time. Just watch as you toss.
While these were frying I made my vinaigrette. I’ve been experimenting with herbal vinegars (yes, I do live in 1992) and am currently enjoying strawberry vinegar (thyme and honeysuckle are also on the go). If I’m making dressing for one I use my indispensable tiny Tiptree jam jar. So I added one-third strawberry vinegar, two thirds Beauty Oil, a squeeze of lime and some chilli flakes. Then I shook my tiny jar. Presto! Dressing! Pronto!
The rest is history. Put the ears on kitchen towel to drain. Add leaves, ears and dressing to a bowl and enjoy.
I love pig’s ears. There will be more pig’s ears posts coming soon. Auricular pickles anyone?
* We used the stock to make an aromatic risotto of just onion, rice, orange zest, a teaspoon of dried mugwort and this stock. IT WAS SO GOOD.