hamcrackcoterie.jpg
Here's my pick for the next trendy dish: Baloney.

It's now common for high-end chefs to serve sophisticated versions dishes associated with poverty, whether from

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100 Favorite Dishes: Ham Cracklings at The Coterie Room

hamcrackcoterie.jpg
Here's my pick for the next trendy dish: Baloney.

It's now common for high-end chefs to serve sophisticated versions dishes associated with poverty, whether from this era (macaroni and cheese, Tater Tots), or another (ramps, trotters.) If there's pig in the dish, all the better: White tablecloths have lately been the canvas for streaky greens, smoked jowl, fried chitterlings and hog maw.

So it shouldn't be long before restaurants start sneaking bologna slices onto their charcuterie plates. In the meantime, eaters anxious for a cheap pork dish given the glamour treatment can console themselves with The Coterie Room's extraordinary ham cracklings.

Southerners make cracklings, or pork rinds, by frying fatty pig skin. Brian McCracken and Dana Tough have a different method. To produce their cracklings, the Coterie Room makes a ham stock and heats it to 194 degrees. The stock ends up in a blender with tapioca flour, with the resulting plaster rolled into a log. Cooks then shave off bits of the porky flour for frying.

The weightless cracklings are fairly magical. They melt on the tongue in a pool of rich salt that evokes a very American history of utilizing the whole hog - and a very Seattle future of scientific cookery.

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