i purchased 4 ears because i knew i would be trying a few different preparations. 2 ears would be fine for a 1st time ear eater. i was eatin' ears for a week because, of course, no one i knew was even the slightest bit interested in my little experiment...fasinated...intrigued...shocked and bewildered, but i definitely had NO TAKERS.
i decided to try 2 different preparations. the 1st photo and the small one to the right is braised, glazed and BBQ'd. deeelish!, but, i must say the ears were a bit unruly on the grill. they wanted to stick and char. i tried to skewer them whole to make them flat so that the grill would hit more surface. you should have seen my innovative skewering technique...i guess it worked, but next time i think i'll slice them, then grill them. there WILL be a next time.
below i sauteed the sliced ears with bacon..ooooh, now that was good. not too much to say about that recipe, just cook your bacon about 2/3 of the way then add in the sliced pig ears and continue cooking untill they look like they are crisping up a bit. use your judgement. serve plain as an appitizer or a side. i enjoyed it with a quick spicy slaw.
SOY GINGER PIG EARS
below is the initial ear cooking method i adapted from Gourmet Magazine Sept 2009. if you would like the full recipe click here for Thai Pigs' Ear Salad
Serves6 (side dish)
Active time:20 min. Start to finish:4 hr
food editor Andrea Albin came up with this dish starring pigs’ ears;Braising the ears slowly in a robust brew of soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and garlic brings out their tender side. Hold on to the braising broth and add it to sauces or stocks for an instant boost of flavor (as it cools, the broth will thicken considerably because of its high gelatin content).
FOR PIG EARS
1 lb pigs’ ears
8 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup sliced ginger
2 tablespoons sugar
3 garlic cloves, smashed
3 cilantro sprigs
1 fresh Thai chile, halved lengthwise (i used jalapeno)
Cook Pigs’ Ears:
•Shave any hair off of pigs’ ears with a razor. YIKES !!!... IMPORTANT NOTE: when i'm cooking odd body parts or things from open stock markets, i like to put the said parts in boiling water for about 5 minutes, drain and rinse. this makes me feel better about any bacteria or cross contamination that might be present. now you're ready....Transfer to a 3-qt heavy pot (or larger) with remaining ingredients and simmer, partially covered, until ears are tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
•Cool ears to room temperature in liquid, then drain (reserve liquid for another use)
Carefully remove the ears from the broth, place them on a parchment paper-lined plate, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. if you are not using them all keep them in the cooking liquid in the fridge. Save the flavorful broth for a yummy Asian flavor stock. Once braised pig ears have been chilled, they can be tightly wrapped in plastic and frozen until ready to use. i kept mine suspended in the gelatinous broth (completely covered)and used as needed for the week.
NOW WHAT ?
#1...let me reiterate that refrigeration is key. these things are quite flubbery (for lack of a better word) and unwieldy when first out of the braise. once they are cooled they are much easier to handle and slice for any preparation you choose. now they are ready to take on any flavors hot or cold...they are even good as is , but 1st timers might need a little something more to disguise the wierd factor.
PIG EAR SAUTEED with BACON
this part was adapted from the LA Times article by Russ Parsons and is great served as an appetizer or over a spicy slaw as shown in photos
Cut the bacon crosswise into thin strips and cook in a skillet over medium heat. Cut the pig ear into similarly sized strips (cut the ear lengthwise into halves or thirds, then slice crosswise into thin strips). When the bacon is almost done, about 10 minutes, add the pig ear and cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon has finished browning, about 3 more minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and pig ear slices to a medium bowl, draining well and reserving the fat. keep the fat if you are interested in using it for a dressing as suggested in the LA Times recipe. i just threw together a fresh light slaw using olive oil and lime juice with jalapeno and cilantro.