Introduction: Crispy Pig Ears
I know what some of you are thinking! Ewww! That's what I thought the first time I realized pig ears were even edible. My husband and I were dining at one of our favorite restaurants in Oakland. We always go for the chefs tasting menu and sure enough, third course in we were presented with a pig ear salad. It was one of the best things we had ever tasted! No, seriously!
If you like churros, you are going to love these! They taste like pork stuffed churros. Crispy on the outside, slightly chwey on the inside with a rich pork flavor and a spice blend of cinnamon, sugar, chinese five spice & fennel.
With full respect for the Nose to Tail Movement, (utlilizing every part of an animal in cooking instead of discarding the parts people aren't used to eating ) these Crispy Pig Ears make the perfect fried food!
CRISPY PIG EARS
preparation adapted from latimes.com
3 Pig Ears: available at asian markets, butcher shops or your local farmer
Cinnamon Sticks- 3 or 4
Sugar- 2-3 cups
Chinese Five Spice- 3-5 tbsp
Fennel - 1/2 tsbp- some chinese five spice blends already have fennel in them. Mine didn't so I added some
Flour- 2 cups
Milk- 2 cups
4 gallons of water
Vegetable Oil- enough to cover the pot until it comes up the sides by 3''
Make sure your pig ears don't have any hair on them. Mine were really clean. If you see some stragglers, just use a razor to trim them off. Place your pig ears in a stock pot and add two gallons of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Strain the ears and return to the pot with 2 more gallons of water. Add the cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for an additional 3 hours.
After three hours, strain the ears. Place them on a dish or baking sheet and put them in the refrigerator overnight so they can dry out.
The next day, remove the ears from the fridge. Pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any moisture. Heat up the oil. Place the oil in a large heavy bottomed pot or wok. I used a wok. Bring the oil to 350 degrees before frying. Set up a work station with the flour, milk and 1/2 cup of the spice mixture. Add 1/2 cup of the cinnamon spice mixture to the flour and stir to combine. Dredge each ear in milk and then in flour. Place on a plate until the oil is heated.
Have a splatter guard ready and a baking sheet lined with paper towels to remove leftover grease .Once the oil is heated, use a pair of tongs and gently place the ear into the wok. Let it fry for for 4-6 minutes or until it is lightly golden brown. Use a pair of tongs and pick the ear up and gently shake off any excess oil back into the wok. Place the ear on a paper towel. Sprinkle the ear generously with the cinnamon sugar spice blend. Turn it over and repeat. I recommend frying one ear at a time. Use a sharp knife to cut the ears into thin bite size strips.
Serve immediately while warm. These can be reheated for 30-60 sec in the microwave or in the oven, but best served right away.