Crisp pig’s ear salad

Crisp pig’s ear salad

Dean Cambray

Some people are a bit resistant to the idea of eating pig’s ears. But if any dish will win them over, it will be this one. The long cooking turns the ear soft, silken and succulent. And who can argue with a crunchy crumb coating?

Poaching stock


Quantity Ingredient
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon salt
6 pig’s ears, (about 570 g total weight)
flour, for dusting
1 egg
1 cup dried breadcrumbs


Quantity Ingredient
200g baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1/4 cup chives, cut into 4 cm batons
4 roma tomatoes, sliced
1 lebanese cucumber, peeled and sliced
2 granny smith apples, sliced thinly (leave the skin on)


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon mustard
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Place the ingredients for the poaching stock in a large, heavy-based casserole dish. Add the pig’s ears and cover generously with water. Bring to the boil, then cover the casserole and simmer very gently for 2½ hours. Check every 30 minutes or so and turn the ears in the poaching stock. When cooked they should be very tender. Remove the casserole from the heat and leave the pig’s ears to cool in the stock.
  2. When cold, remove from the stock and pat thoroughly dry. Sandwich the ears between two sheets of baking paper. Set a small chopping board on top of the ears and weight it down (tins from the pantry will do the job). Transfer to the refrigerator and leave overnight.
  3. When ready to assemble the salad, combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
  4. Cut the pig’s ears into thin strips. Whisk the egg with the milk in a shallow disk. Set up a little production line of 3 dishes containing the flour, egg mixture, and breadcrumbs. Dip the strips in the flour first then dip them into the egg mixture and then the breadcrumbs so they are evenly coated.
  5. Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan and shallow-fry the crumbed strips for 4–5 minutes until crisp and golden brown all over. Drain briefly on a wire rack.
  6. To serve, pour the dressing onto the salad and toss lightly. Scatter on the crispy pig’s ear strips and serve straight away.
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