Out of the Scrap Bowl Part 8 “Top of the mornin to you”
As this will be my last entry for Fall, I thought I would talk about a less controversial food item. The tops of many vegetables are not only edible, but truly delicious. Beets, carrots, radishes and turnips are probably the most common but definitely not totally inclusive. The tops can be cooked in a myriad of ways: steamed, sautéed or stir-fried with oil or animal fat, added to soups, or chopped up raw and served in salads. I have also seen them processed to be, or be in, health drinks and smoothies. Finding vegetables with their greens still attached has become somewhat problematic these days and it may require a trip to a farmer’s market or talking to your local grocery produce manager.
Note: The stems of greens can also be eaten but are usually tougher and fibrous. If desired you can either strip the leave from the stem or cut it off right below the leaves.
Sautéed Radishes and Greens
2 bunches of radishes with greens
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Remove the greens from the radishes. Coarsely chop the washed greens and set aside.
Slice the radishes into thin rounds.
Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot, add the radishes and cook for 3 minutes without stirring. To brown properly, the radishes should be spread out in a single layer.
Stir the radishes and saute another 3 minutes.
Add the leaves and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.
The next part of the pig’s head to use is the snout. Believe it or not it is a good size piece and can weigh up to a pound by itself. The snout is a tough piece of meat and does need to be boiled or pressure cooked for a while to tenderize it. If prepared right it is reminiscent of bacon. The snout should be split open to remove grisly parts and to be able to clean it well, after all this was once a pig’s drippy nose. My family would usually just slice it up into thin strips and use it in stew but for those of you epicureans I have included the following upscale recipe.
Crispy Pork Snout
Two pork snouts, trimmed of any connective tissue or bone
5 ounces pork scrap or trim from snout
1 qt chicken stock or vegetable stock
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper as needed
All purpose flour
1 large egg
Panko breadcrumbs, as needed
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp unsalted butter, diced
Flavorless oil for sautéing, like grape seed or canola
Heat the oven to 300. Place the snouts, wine and stock in a covered pot with a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook for 3 hours, or until very tender. Remove the snouts from their liquid and cool until firm enough to handle.
In a saute pan, heat a tablespoon of oil until lightly smoking. Brown the pork scrap, seasoning with salt and pepper, then cover with 1 cup of the reserved snout liquid and cook, covered on medium heat for 45 minutes , or until tender. Shred the pork scrap, then cook down in the liquid until the pan is nearly dry. Cool the shredded pork and reserve.
Stuff each pork nostril with 2 tsp of the shredded pork, then bread the snouts by dipping first in flour, then beaten egg and lastly the panko breadcrumbs.
Heat a saute pan with a few tablespoons of oil and a tablespoon of the butter. Brown the snouts on medium heat until golden and crisp on each side, about 5 minutes. Remove the snouts from pan and keep warm. Serve with a side of greens or other vegetable.