I’ve made pigs’ ears salad at home before, but this version is crispier, saltier and more perfect with beer. This is for my friend, Hafeez, who liked the Irving Mill version a lot when we ate there. At home, I fried the ears in really hot oil while standing on a short step-ladder. I wanted to be as far away from the skillet as much as possible, but I also wanted to see how the ears were cooking. It must have been a sight because my father stayed to watch me avoid getting splattered by very hot oil.
After you’ve fried the first batch of pigs’ ears, you want them to stay crispy while you finish the rest. Don’t cover the skillet when frying because that will trap moisture in. I used a slotted spoon to remove the fried ears and I transferred them to a stainless steel colander to drain the excess oil. You don’t want to use paper towels like usual because the ears will end up sitting on moist paper while you finish cooking.
You can use almost any bitter greens for this salad to stand up to the salty fried pigs’ ears. I used spinach, but spicy arugula, endive or radicchio are great substitutes.
4 pigs’ ears, thoroughly washed
1 bunch of spinach
1 red onion, thinly sliced
half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
oil, salt, pepper
1. In a large stock pot, cook pigs’ ears in enough boiling water to submerge them for an hour and a half. When cooked, remove and slice in strips.
2. Heat enough frying oil in a large skillet to deep-fry sliced ears. In small batches, add pigs’ ears and fry for 6 minutes. Do not cover skillet. When fried, use a slotted spoon to remove ears from hot oil and into a colander to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper while fried ears are hot. Set aside to cool.
3. Assemble salad when ears are almost cool enough to eat. Toss ears with remaining ingredients in a large salad bowl. Season with pepper.