Pig Ear Paean
Pig Ear Salad at Henan Feng Wei
In their Joy of Cooking, 1975 edition, Irma and Marion Rombauer suggest you poach them with a bouquet garni in salted water, then skin, bread, and fry in strips.
The cookbook of Pullman chef Rufus Estes, Good Things to Eat (1911) provides a recipe brief enough that I can quote the entire thing:
Singe off all the hair from the pig's ears, scrape and wash well and cut lengthwise into strips. Place them in a saucepan with a little stock, add a small quantity of flour, a few slices of onion fried, salt and pepper to taste. Place the pan over a slow fire and simmer until the ears are thoroughly cooked. Arrange on a dish, add a little lemon juice to the liquor and pour over the ears. Serve with a garnish of fried bread.
Finally, nose-to-tail British chef Fergus Henderson offers two formulae for consumption: crispy, in a sorrel and chicory salad; or poached, crisped, and deposited in a green pea soup (above).
My favorite method of preparation lately has been the northern Chinese one, whereby the ears are red braised in sherry and soy sauce, shredded, and then spritzed with a spicy and vinegary dressing. At Henan Feng Wei (136-31 41 Avenue, Flushing, Queens, 718-762-1818), the flesh is soft, while the cartilage inside the ear generates an audible crunch and a good chew. The ears are so rich, a bowl feeds five or six, and you'll want to order another to take home with you, for sandwiches or TV snacks. Your guests won't be able to get enough.
An alluring nighttime glimpse of Henan Feng Wei
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