Pig ears larb. The pig skin soaks up a marinade of fish sauce and lime, and then you get the crunch of the cartilage with every bite.
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To avoid pig's ears exploding in a deep fryer or microwave, I pan-fry pig's ears. The ears don't turn out quite as crispy, but pig skin really wants to get crispy in oil, so it's hard not to end up with something toothsome even if all you do is very gently brown the ears in a little bit of oil in your pan.
You can serve these pig's ears as-is, or add them to salads as you would lardons and other porky treats. Though salt and pepper would suffice as seasonings, I vary mine every time with whatever I have in the pantry—sweet smoked paprika, roasted and ground Sichuan peppercorn, various curry powders, Old Bay.
Unlike pate, which transforms liver, pressing ears into a terrine mold doesn't change a thing about the fundamental texture and taste of ears. If you compare eating a hunk of pigs' ears that have been crammed and congealed in a mold to eating pigs' ears that have been simmered and chilled, there is not much difference. Yet if you go the extra step of pressing the ears down into a loaf pan, you get the giddy pleasure of eating something that looks like a slice of cake but is actually made of ears.
adapted from Beyond Nose to Tail by Fergus Henderson and Justin Piers Gellatly...
Pigs' ear pizza. The name struck me well before the actual conception of the dish. I liked the way the syllables went together, as if there could be nothing more natural in the world than a pizza topped with ears. For a while I dreamed about making the pie, but I waited until there was confluence of dough, mozzarella, and confited pigs' ears in my kitchen to begin the project in earnest.
"Stewing the pig's ears affords a precious by-product: a pot of flavorful stock." [Photographs: Chichi Wang] More Nasty Bits Duck Tongue » Dashi-Simmered Eel » All Nasty Bits recipes » The Fergus Henderson meal I shared with the serious eats...
And the first recipe from Beyond Nose to Tail is go! Here's what'll do you for Pressed Pig's Ear, a dish Henderson describes as "thin slivers of joyous piggy jelly, within which there is a beautiful weave of ear."...