It has often struck me as odd that people who would put the brains, reproductive organs and poop shute of an entire animal--like a mussel, or an oyster--in their mouths without further thought turn green at the idea of eating pigs feet, simply because it's a foot, though they happily eat any other cut of pork. My husband is one of those people.
That occurred to me again this morning when I read Michael Ruhlman's post about a visit to the restaurant called The Spotted Pig: When Donna found herself in NYC at the Ace Hotel last fall, she spent a couple nights in the Breslin kitchen watching executive chef April Bloomfield, Breslin chef de cuisine Peter Cho, and crew rock. The trotter caught her eye. It’s the perfect example of why this post could be called Why April Is Not the Cruelest Month But Rather the Best Porker, or simply Why We Love April. The British chef takes a great Italian classic, a zampone, as she notes, breads it, fries it in olive oil and butter, and serves it as their “Pig’s Foot for 2.” It’s the boned out trotter, stuffed with cotechino, a pork and pig skin farce. Peter says it’s currently served with braised shallots, a garlic cream sauce, and sauteed Brussels sprouts. But that changes with the season. I’d serve it with an aggressive vinaigrette, maybe a gribiche and arugula.
Me? Oh, do I love pickled pigs feet. I grew up in Los Angeles where pickled pigs feet is a specialty of the Hispanic community. My grandmother even made her own, and she didn't otherwise do any home canning/pickling. When Grammy showed up with a gallon sized jar of them once or so a year, it was as big a treat as the speckled red tin cans of snow-white divinity and rich pralines that were her other specialties.
My experience outside of the pickled kind has been sparce, however. I recall a yummy deep fried pair of half trotters that was served to me in Germany, a delightful salad of terrined pigs foot at Bistro Jeanty in Napa (that was 15 years ago, but per a friend who dined there last month it's still on the menu), and just a few weeks ago some disappointing patties at Extra Virgin in Kansas City. The latter were disappointing because they were thin and breaded, and all you tasted was the deep fried breading. The negligible interior could have been foam padding. I was really sorry about that because Bob just about passed out when I ordered it (tapas style, we were sharing small plates), but gamely agreed to try it.
Alas, an opportunity for conversion squandered.
So where do the rest of you stand? Love them, hate them, you'd use them to impart gelatine to a stock but otherwise wouldn't eat one? Let's talk.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov