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Den of inanity
Culinaricon  (Topics: 84 - Posts: 568)
Page  1
Crispy pigtails
Posted by Igelkotten Jan 22, 2009, 11:07
As most of you know, I am no stranger to the stranger cuts of meat. [;)]

Another person, who has become famous for his appreciation of them is Fergus Henderson, an architect who decided that his true vocation laid within cooking, and opened the now-famous St. John restaurant in London, and wrote the excellent cookbook "Nose to Tail eating" . This is one of the better cookbooks I have ever read, with not only recipes for lots of meat dishes, including some dishes that are rarely seen today, but also some absolutely wonderful vegetable and fish recipes, all written in a very fundamental, straight-forward manner sprinkled with some wonderful humour. Recommended reading!

A while ago, I decided to try out his recipe for crispy pig's tails.

Basically, a bunch of pigtails are laid in a oven-proof dish, together with red wine, some light stock, some carrots, celeriac and onion, bay leaves and other aromatics, covered with foil and braised on low temperature in the oven for a long time. Take out the pig tails (carefully, the meat will be very giving), pour off the braising liquid in a bowl, and let the pig tails cool in the strained liquid. Be sure to remove the pigtails from the liquid before it solidifies completely, though!

The pigtails are very gelationous, and contain a lot of that sort of meat that is not really fat, but not really soild msucle either. When freshly boiled and hot, they are very giving, so you need to let them cool and solidify before progressing with the next step, preferrably overnight.

The next step is to whisk a few eggs in a bowl with mustard, salt and pepper. You then dip the pigtails in flour, one by one, followed by the egg mixture and finally give them a nice coating of breadcrumbs. Fry the pigtails with a (un)healthy knob of butter in a pan, transfer them to a baking dish, and let them finish in a hot oven, so they are all crisped up. Fergus Henderson suggests serving them with some mustard and a salad of "lively and peppery" greens, and perhaps a bottle of good malt vinegar.

This turned out quite nice. I did add a splash of chili sauce to the eggs, which was a good move in my opinion. The contrast between the spicy and crispy outside and the soft, somewhat gelatinous, inside was quite interesting. However, if you can't stand that sort of texture, this dish is probably not for you. The breading got a bit too rich for my taste, though (this is overall a very rich dish, guaranteed to make a cardiologist a bit faint).

I think I'll try this dish again, with some variations. I think I am going to try doing them without coating them in breadcrumbs, and instead scoring the skin slightly and rubbing them with a spicy glaze before crisping them up in the oven. The skin on the tails should contain enough fat by itself to crisp up nicely, and the dish would proabably feel a bit lighter. I suspect that if you do this dish in a restaurant, you could probably deep-fry the pigtails after breading them, which would probably crisp them up in no time at all, and prevent the breading from absorbing too much fat. The time in the oven would then be enough for the pigtails to get heated through, and allow excess fat from the frying to drip off.

Anyhow, this wasn't bad at all, and I'll try it again with the modifications I mentioned above. I am also wanting to try his recipe for grilled calf's heart -sliced into squares, marinaded in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, parsley, garlic and spices, and then grilled. [cool]


Posted by TomC Jan 22, 2009, 18:42
St John...mmmmmmmmmm


I spent a very pleasant evening getting drunk in there with a mutual friend of ours...


Posted by Sunjumper Feb 23, 2009, 10:04
I think I'll pass on thepig tails. I am not a big fan of squish fatty things. Bonus demerits for the pork origin... [brains]

Hearts on the other hand are a different thing.
I have not tried veal hearts yet. But I did eat and enormously enjoy cow hearts. There is a Peruvian specialty in which you BBQ cuboid chunks of heart on skewers while regularly sprinkling it with beer. The meat's taste is very intensive and you only need a bit of slat and peper (if memory serves) to round off the taste. It is a popular midnight snack while bar crawling in Peru. (I wonder if I can find some 'official' recepie for it somewhere...)


Posted by Carduus Feb 24, 2009, 00:18
Or you start experimenting and then post about it here! [grin]


Posted by Sunjumper Feb 24, 2009, 16:51
I lack the BBQ and garden to do that.
But I'd love to have them again one of these days.
You can't really eat that many of them, the taste is that strong, but it is really a perfect snack.


Posted by Igelkotten Feb 25, 2009, 18:50
Grilled, marinated calf's heart according to Fergus Henderson:

Take a calf's heart and trim it of any sinews and fat, slice it open and remove any blood clots etc. Lay it flat and cut it into 2-3 cm squares, about ½ cm thick.

Toss these slices in a mix of balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and thyme,, and perhaps some olive oil, and let them marinate for a day or so in the fridge.

Cook either in a barbecue over open fire or embers, or in a cast-iron griddle or skillet

Serve with what Fergus Henderson calls "a spirited salad" of, for example watercress and shallots.


Posted by Igelkotten Feb 25, 2009, 19:00
Quoted from: Sunjumper

I think I'll pass on thepig tails. I am not a big fan of squish fatty things. Bonus demerits for the pork origin... [brains]

Hearts on the other hand are a different thing.
I have not tried veal hearts yet. But I did eat and enormously enjoy cow hearts. There is a Peruvian specialty in which you BBQ cuboid chunks of heart on skewers while regularly sprinkling it with beer. The meat's taste is very intensive and you only need a bit of slat and peper (if memory serves) to round off the taste. It is a popular midnight snack while bar crawling in Peru. (I wonder if I can find some 'official' recepie for it somewhere...)



Some recipes for anticuchos:

www.livinginperu.com/gastronomy/recipes-catid-1136

fooddownunder.com/cgi-bin/recipe.cgi?r=5114

www.recipezaar.com/Peruvian-Anticuchos-182583

Though I haven't found a recipe that features basting with beer durign the grilling, but what's that to stop you, anyway?


Posted by Sunjumper Feb 25, 2009, 19:13
Anticuchos! I can for some reason never remember that name.

And without beer its not the same!
Are you going to argue wirth my family and wrinkly old street vendors infront of smokey jazz bars?


Posted by Igelkotten Feb 25, 2009, 19:32
Quoted from: Sunjumper

Anticuchos! I can for some reason never remember that name.

And without beer its not the same!
Are you going to argue wirth my family and wrinkly old street vendors infront of smokey jazz bars?


Certainly not, but I hope that you hear the cry of the blood of your ancestors and perfect a recipe featuring beer-basting and publish it here, to banish these pale yanqui degenerations! [:-p]


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