"There's one good thing that happens when you toss your pearls to swine…"

by Katie Pizzuto on February 6, 2010

in Uncategorized

“It was hilarious,” I had told her. “My kid thought the whole tray of crackling was for him!” We laughed, talked about how crackling, when done right, is one of the most perfect foods…something I’d want for my last meal. “Crackling wrapped in bacon,” she joked, but we both knew we were half serious. “I’d want sushi for my last meal,” a third one chimed in. “Sushi? I can get that whenever the hell I want! Now if we were talking about crackling sushi, well then maybe.” And that’s all it generally takes. Someone says something in jest, and from that a brainchild is born that has you plotting a cooking experiment that, in your warped little mind, belongs in the damned Bocuse d’Or. “What if,” I pondered, “what if I then drizzle it with a bourbon-maple reduction?” We were both salivating at that point, at the thought of a hunk of crackling, sitting atop a soft bed of still-warm rice, wrapped in place with a piece of bacon (not seaweed) and then drizzled with a reduction. But it had to be good crackling…the best of cracklings….if it would work. Crackling that you can bisect and see three complete layers in the cross section: meat, fat and skin. The idea tossed vegetarians out to pasture, sent nutritionists into cardiac arrest and most likely also gave pork lovers a hard on. My idea, thus, of a perfect bite.

If you’ve never experienced real crackling—which most emphatically does not include store-bought, packaged pork rinds—you haven’t fully lived. The combination of saltiness, richness, crunchiness and butteriness—the counterpoint of textures and flavors—make for gastronomic alchemy. The thought to then take a morsel of piggy perfection and create an oink-worthy “sushi”, well that was pure genius if I do say so, and the bourbon-maple reduction was…ummm….mind blowing. So I offer this creation up to you, gentle reader, as my contribution to Super Bowl munchies. Wash a couple of them down with a refreshing Weisse beer and I promise your guests will never look at another pathetic piece of faux-crab sushi the same again.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dragon February 6, 2010

Now this is what I call inspired!

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2 Elle February 6, 2010

That could make me go back to being a meat-asaurus full freaking time. Sigh…looks incredible, to say the least!

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3 El Jefe February 6, 2010

Oh baby!

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4 Linsey February 6, 2010

oooooooooomg how good do they look!

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5 Heather February 7, 2010

Wow. They look even more amazing then I could have imagined in my little head the day we were plotting them. Send some!!!

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6 Don February 7, 2010

How did you get the bacon to stay in place? I would think it would crack and then well be more like a cracklin pork belly mess. Also not everyone can make the rice cakes. Those look a little loose, did they stay together? All in all it looks like a pork lovers wet dream! Great job Katie.

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7 Katie Pizzuto February 8, 2010

What I did, Don, was pull the bacon out before it was done to the point of crispness. Then after it was all assembled, I torched it just a bit to finish it off. As for the rice, I make sushi all the time at home, so I know how to do it, but this couldn’t be done the same way because sushi rice takes vinegar and sugar. For this, I simply used leftover Chinese take-out rice. It tends to be on the sticky side anyway and worked perfectly. The pieces held together just fine when picked up. BTW, did you know that in general, sushi masters here in the US tend to make the rice “fingers” more densely than they do in Japan? Why? Because Americans have a tendency to dip the sushi into soy sauce rice-side-down which is a HUGE no-no in Japan. If you dip in soy, you dip fish-side-down so it doesn’t absorb much. But since Americans screw it all up, they make the rice fingers stickier and more dense so they won’t fall apart when dipped in soy!

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8 Don February 8, 2010

I had no Idea about that Katie. I eat sushi all the time and have always dipped it in soy rice side down. I’ll try it the other way, now that I know the proper protocol.

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9 Katie Pizzuto February 8, 2010

Any time…I’m an endless fountain of relatively useless info. Honesty, I don’t dip in soy at all, but if you do, definitely do it fish-side-down….picking up less soy sauce will prevent you from overwhelming the subtlety of the fish.

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10 Linsey February 8, 2010

I gotta say im not a fan of sushi, im not a fan of sticky rice, i am not a fan of neat soy sauce, i am not a fan of pork crackling … but with all those negatives out the way … every time i look at that photo my mouth waters

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11 Katie Pizzuto February 9, 2010

Then my job is done, Lin 🙂

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12 Don February 10, 2010

It is Wednesday. Will there be no picture for two weeks in a row?!!!

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