Every summer, the kitchen team participates in sending off our interns with a very special gathering and dinner. This year, the theme was grad night. We were asked to do some portable familiar foods, and fancy it up a little. Here's our contribution:
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home-made chicharones | pimenton - vinegar
Chicharones at home is easy. Remove the skin from the belly, leaving about 1/4 inch of fat. Put your pork skins into a non-stick pan and season with salt and a touch of vinegar to taste. Do not crowd the pan or else the skins will stick to each other later on in the cooking process. Add water just to cover, then add twice that amount of water (this is just a method of measurement to make you have enough water). Boil the skin until all water has evaporated and then turn the heat to low. At this point, the excess fat from the skin should have rendered out enough to cover the skins. If this is not the case, add a neutral oil so that the skins are submerged. Keep the heat on low and continue to render until the skin becomes crispy. Toss with additional salt if needed and your choice of seasoning (I like pimenton because it gives it a smokey characteristic). Drain on paper towels to cool.
We start off with Cecile's sexy salad. It celebrates the emergence of spring, a meet and greet of ingredients local to our coast: