Today is National Eat What You Want Day — when humans concerned about their waistlines must schedule a day to cheat on their diets. I would point out the humor in this prearranged lapse in discipline — since the entire point of discipline is to be disciplined — but I won’t. So eat what you want. I certainly do. Though, you are bound by the confines of law and order.
It is also the publication date of my journal, such as it is. I thought I would celebrate by doing something different.
If you have been following my work, or if you are a new reader, it will become clear that I never eat the skin. I am not entirely happy with the idea of eating a fried meat-sack, since that is really the best preparation of the integument. Neither do I much go in for sweets, but I will never be accused of being myopic. I have decided to branch out, to expand my horizons.
And so, I offer up this treat, a savory dessert.
- Baking pan with inset wire rack
- Sharp knife
- Dredging bowl
- Mixing bowl
- Two medium saucepans
- Mixer (Hand held or standing, whisk or electric)
- Frying pan
- Ice cream making kit for a KitchenAid standing mixer (optional)
- 1-2 lbs pork back fat with skin (As may be obvious, I do not use pork. Instead I choose a specimen with a particularly high body fat index, and a fairly wide torso. I have adjusted the recipe to fit your tastes, however, this ingredient may be difficult for you to find in a normal grocery store. If you go up to the butchery counter and ask them if they have any sitting around, you will probably be in luck. Asian grocers, specialty butchers, and even farm-to-table place may have it.)
- Brown sugar
- White sugar
- Cinnamon (You may use pre-ground spices, for expediency, but fresh is best)
- Sea salt
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- Chocolate ice cream (I will not include the instructions for making your own ice cream. If you have the standing mixer and the attachment, it comes with a recipe guide. Simply make up a batch of your favorite ice cream and freeze over night.)
- 1 package raspberries
- Chambord (Raspberry liqueur. Optional, but a very good option)
- Make your ice cream the night before. If not making your own, skip this step and purchase a dark chocolate, organic variety. We want to keep the savory-sweet profile, so less sugar is better.
- Preheat the oven to 200.
- Cut your pork into thin strips, about two inches wide, and carefully remove the subcutaneous fat. The best way is to lay the pork skin-side down, and resting the knife flat, slide it across the strip away from yourself, as if scraping or shaving. Remove as much fat as you can, as it will interfere with the crispiness of the skin. Set fat aside.
- Cut the skin strips into 2-3 inch segments. Lay these on top of the baking rack, and put into the oven. The low temperature will dry out the skin over the course of the next few hours. When the skin is completely dried out, Remove and set aside to cool completely.
- Take the fat you have set aside and render in your frying pan by cooking at a low temp for a couple hours, while your skin is drying out. (I mean the pork skin of course. If your skin is drying out, please indulge in a moment of moisturizing at this time.)
- In medium saucepan, combine raspberries, 1 cup white sugar, and 1/2 cup Chambord (Or juice or water) and allow to cook down to a syrup. Strain the seeds from this when it is liquefied, and set aside.
- When the skin is close to being fully cooled, combine 2 cups brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamon to taste in your dredging bowl, with just a pinch of sea salt.
- Heat your rendered fat or lard in your pan until it is perfect frying temperature, and spits a bit.
- Using tongs, drop the skin pieces into the oil and fry until they puff up and get crispy. Immediately remove, give a cautious shake, and then dredge in the sugar spice mixture. Set aside to cool.
- Whip your cream until it is perfect whipped cream texture, adding a sprinkle of sugar here and sea salt there. We want this whipped cream to be savory, not sweet, so only add the sugar to bring out the cream, not to mask it. It should taste something like salted butter.
- In a small saucepan, heat one cup of white sugar and 1 teaspoon of sea salt on medium heat, stirring constantly. The sugar should begin to melt and turn a light golden brown. When it is completely liquefied, it is finished. Remove immediately or it will harden.
To serve, scoop a small amount of the ice cream into a bowl or cup, add a generous stripe of raspberry sauce. Another scoop of ice cream. A dollop of your savory whipped topping. Drizzle all over with salted caramel. Stack the chicharrones atop like a cookie, or serve in a separate dish for dipping.
If you are so inclined, you may now find my published diary, entitled The Creature’s Cookbook, online, or via the Tapas Media app. I do hope you will enjoy.