4
| Menus |

Facing Food Fears: #4 Pig's Ears

^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

To hell with trepidation. I'm forcing myself to try those five intriguing foods that scare me. I may barf, I may cry, and I may not always enjoy myself, but at least I won't be a coward.

#4: Pig's Ears

I was nervous about finally trying prune juice and just plain queasy at the thought of eating a pig's ear. There was no way I was going to prepare one for myself, and I preferred not to go to some random restaurant that just happened to list it on their menu.

So, upon the recommendation of reader Stephen, I went to Feast, which, he claimed "has a great pig's ear appetizer."

A "Pig's Ear Cake," to be exact. Chef Richard Knight was kind enough to educate me on the preparation of the cake (i.e., talk me down from running out of the restaurant squealing like, well, a stuck pig). He and fellow chef James Silk originally got the recipe from James's father. "We had to tweak it a little, though, to make it just right." By "tweaking," I hoped he meant removing all discernible bits of lobe and cartilage.

Light yellow and speckled with herbs, ham, dried fruit, and little pieces of, um, ear, the cake might initially be mistaken for a sort of tea bread. Served in thick slices, it comes warm, covered with cheese, Dijon mustard and apple chutney. My first bite -- a nibble, really -- was dominated by the taste of fragrant fresh rosemary. The second nibble brought out the flavors the apricots, cherries and dates, whose mild sweetness provided a nice accent to the melted cheese and pungent mustard. Finally, in the third nibble, I made a point of consuming some ear. The white slivers were fatty, pleasantly salty, and just a bit chewy.

As my nibbles turned into bites, I realized 1) this cake was rather rich, and 2) I really liked it.

The first realization shouldn't have been much of a surprise, as Knight had described cooking the ear in olive oil and using both oil and butter in the cake batter. The second realization made wonder if I actually have been missing something all these years by eschewing auricular flesh.

I'm still not quite ready to consume a pig's ear in toto. Anything larger than bits, cubes or shreds, and I'll start thinking too hard and stop enjoying myself.

The Pig's Ear Cake, by the way, is one of Feast's most popular appetizers.


Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.