Encouraging Words from the Mangalitsa Master

Heath from Wooly Pigs hit us with some flattering words recently. See his post here about our use of the local mangalitsa we have on hand. I don't know if I can consider us as being "probably the restaurant in the USA that uses Mangalitsa pork in the most experimental ways" but it is a very nice gesture. I have had many conversations with Heath via email and facebook about this breed of pork. Really for us it comes down to local product and the utilization of everything we get. Heath sent me an email about a year ago letting me know Torm of Pasture Prime Wagyu had just recently purchased some mangalitsa and we would have some local product to work with. Had it not been for that bit of information I'm sure it would have taken us a bit to catch on and embrace the great product that was right in our backyard.
We are mainly a seafood restaurant but we look to our pork as a major flavor enhancer. House cured and smoked bacon brings our chowder to another level. Bacon and clam ragout over wild king salmon, cured and smoked head diced with sea island red peas, bacon wrapped tuna, the earthiness of brined-braised-and pressed shoulder is out of this world. We have a dish called "Dirty South Swordfish" where we start our risotto with house made tasso. Who doesn't like fresh pork rinds still popping and cracking on the way to the table? It may never be listed on the menu but its there. It's what we have when we have it.
This is not your normal pork, you have to have other creative outlets besides pork loin on your menu to sustain this product. When we get a loin in it has a 2-3 in layer of fat cap on it! Half the weight is fat. If your any kind of chef you know you can't just chalk it up as waste. Make lardo! Our first batch of lardo is finally done, most people just slice it and put it on the plate and there is nothing wrong with that. We cubed and rendered a bit until it was crispy. The beauty of mangalitsa fat is lower moisture content from most kinds of pork. When you render it surely it loses some weight but not even close to he norm. If you could describe fat as being meaty then this would be it. After it was rendered we all tried a single piece and it was ridiculous, well seasoned from the months of curing and hanging, but light as air, crispy on the outside and molten goodness on the center. In the end, thanks for the words Heath. It just gives us more fuel to push the envelope on our future pig projects.

1 comment:

  1. To my knowledge, you use whole Mangalitsa pigs regularly. Nobody else does that.

    I have to figure you are doing it partly for the fun - because it isn't easy.

    I didn't know you are primarily a seafood restaurant - but I've noticed before that such restaurants like to use pork and pork fat a lot.