A scrumptious salad centred around a pig’s ear, an underutilised cut and a true culinary thrill. Pig’s ears are fantastic value and, in this dish, tantamount to eating strips of crackling.
I suspect that for a lot of people, the thought of eating a pig’s ear makes them feel squeamish, but it really shouldn’t. If you enjoy eating pork, then what, in all honesty, is the difference between eating a piece of belly, hock, cheek, or leg, and eating a slice of crispy ear? The answer is there is none — it’s simply a matter of perception.
We butcher a pig to eat it, and as a matter of respect for the whole carcass, we advocate eating all its edible parts. This should be the contract that we enter into with sustainable, livestock farming. Therefore, broaden your horizons, open your culinary mind and give this recipe a go – you have nothing to fear!
Crispy pig’s ear salad
1 head of frisée, very green outer leaves removed and washed
extra virgin olive oil
white wine vinegar
- The ears first need to be braised:
- Put the ears in a pot and cover with cold water, add a good pinch of salt and set over a high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid and cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- Remove the ears from the pan and lay them on a piece of greaseproof paper, on a tray to cool.
- Add 4 tablespoons of plain flour to a large bowl along with salt and a good grinding of black pepper.
- Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the pig’s ears, place in the flour and toss together, ensuring that the ears get a good coating in flour. Shake off any extra flour and place on a plate.
- Heat the vegetable oil, in a fryer or a pan, to 180°C. Fry the ears, in batches for 4-5 minutes, until golden and crispy (beware, the ears can sometimes spit in the hot oil). Season well with salt when you pull them out of the oil.
- Whisk the 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard with 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a pinch of salt. Then whisk in 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
- In a salad bowl, mix the frisée, capers and half of the ears and then dress well with the vinaigrette.
- Plate the salad and then scatter the remaining ears over the top.