Fried pig ears with agrodolce
At Fossetta, which recently opened on New York City’s Lower East Side, chef Charlene Santiago salts whole pig ears and then confits them in pork fat for several hours.
“They are ready when you can give them a firm pinch and break through the skin and cartilage,” she said.
She lets the ears cool in the fat overnight and then cuts them in half-inch thick slices.
She makes an agrodolce sauce by slowly cooking red onion and Fresno chiles in oil until they’re soft and slightly caramelized. Then she adds red wine, red wine vinegar, and sugar to that and simmers and reduces it until it has a light syrupy consistency. Then she removes it from the heat, adds a few fresh bay leaves, lets them steep for around 30 minutes, and then strains it.
At service she deep-fries the pig ears until they’re crisp and then sprinkles them with sea salt and drizzles them with warm agrodolce. She serves them with Spanish onions that have been slowly cooked with Marsala wine and vinegar.
Santiago said that pig ears can by “scary” to some customers, “but once you have a bite, you realize that they are really quite approachable. They are a super-delicious, crunchy, chewy, salty snack.