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Chicharron–Pig Skin Delight

Chicharron–Pig Skin Delight


Chicharron for Omar is like peanut butter to me–if you get a craving, you just gotta have it.  Chicharron is pig skin, and it comes fried and boiled and pickled.  Sometimes it is quite meaty, almost like roast pork.  It is never a low fat, low cholesterol choice, but it sure is good!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Not chicharron.  This is a pig in hot sauce that miraculously appeared in our pot of beans.  We were going to save it so people would come from miles around and Guiness and all, but we were hungry.  Stay tuned for chicharron picture.

Not chicharron. This is a pig in hot sauce that miraculously appeared in our pot of beans. We were going to save it so people would come from miles around and Guiness and all, but we were hungry. Stay tuned for chicharron picture.

We ran everywhere this morning—to Mercado Abastos (the huge supply market) for tomatillos, onions, cilantro, and fresh figs, then to Blockbuster to turn in a movie, WalMart for the weekly groceries, and finally “the Chicharron Place,” a restaurant/meat market in Tlaquepaque that specializes in chicharron, or pork rinds.

Obviously, our lives veer from the exotic to the achingly prosaic, often in the same hour.

About fried pig skin.  There is much more to chicharron than one would guess at first glance.

Huge rubbery sheets of beige pig skin are plunged into gargantuan caldrons of sizzling and spitting grease, to magically inflate and emerge as twisting, bubbly sheets, with the odd hair still attached.  These bacon-flavored monstrosities can be a couple of feet long and nearly as wide across—pork rinds on testosterone.  They are easily broken up into irregular size pieces that resemble a 3D relief map of West Virginia done in amber-colored Styrofoam, which describes their texture as well, except firmer and dripping golden lard.

You can order chicharron “thin” (deep-fried skin only) or “con carne,” which as the name implies includes some of the underlying meat, now fried to a heavenly frazzle.

More than just eaten out-of-hand as an artery-clogging family snack, chicharron plays a starring role in a number of classic Mexican dishes.

Which is why I was wrestling a huge, contorted sheet of greasy fried pig skin into the back seat of out little Chevy.  We live in a new development, and decided in a mad moment that a potluck block party (well, a “convivio de traje”—a get-together) would be a good way to meet the new neighbors.  (“Convivio de traje” is a play on words.  It sounds like “Black Tie Event”—traje can be evening clothes—but in our case it means “traer”—to bring something, like food.  Spanish is cool).

What to make when you are cooking for 100?  Chicharron en salsa verde!  The green sauce, redolent of cilantro and tomatillos and onions, is wonderful on almost anything but is transcendent on chicharron.   Velvety from pork fat, slightly crunchy from the fried skin, tartness lent by the tomatillos, and all served up with fresh corn flour tortillas, it’s a uniquely Mexican moment.

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Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.