Remember that game your mother or grandmother used to play with you? This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home. Or maybe you’ve played it with your lover, grabbing their toes and making them squirm with laughter. Well, Fergus Henderson, Britain’s Minister of Offal, thinks about romance in a slightly different way.
In his most recent book, Beyond Nose to Tail: More Omnivorous Recipes for the Adventurous Cook, he describes a certain recipe as “a perfect romantic supper for two. Imagine gazing into the eyes of your loved one over a golden pig’s cheek, ear and snout.” The recipe in question is Pot-Roast Half Pig’s Head.
As you may know, I recently came into possession of half a pig’s head. So, gentle reader, you know what I had to do.
It’s a really easy recipe that basically involves braising half a pig’s head for about 3 hours, in chicken broth, brandy, and white wine with some garlic and shallots; and then wilting some greens in the remaining cooking liquid. The only fussy bit is shaving the pig. Yes, they are quite hairy, so give yourself a good 15 minutes for that part.
I’m not going to reproduce the recipe here because Mr. Ferguson’s whimsical and slightly archaic style is what makes it. Go buy the book or get it from the library and take it to bed with a glass of wine. I promise, you’ll have a good time.
If your beloved is an appreciator of food and an adventurous eater, Fergus Henderson just might be right to invoke Tin Pan Alley love songs at the end of his recipe, when he writes, “There you have it, dinner for two; open something red and delicious: Moon, June Spoon.”
It was the crispiest pig skin I’d ever had, crunchy and rich like the perfect piece of buttered toast. After a few moments, I realized I was drunk, but not on the wine, which if I remember correctly was a serviceable Côtes du Rhone. No, I was drunk on fat. It goes right to your head, just like Champagne. You feel a bit dizzy, and very satisfied; sort of like after sex.