This Little Piggy Went… on the Pasta

Oink. Sous Chef Matt Hinckley plated this homemade linguine with local oyster mushrooms, cipollini onion, poached Lake Meadow Naturals duck egg, and crunchy pig ear for staff to taste at Monday's dinner pre-shift meeting. We were hungry for details on how it all came together in the kitchen. After his shift ended at 1:50 a.m. last night, the answer hit my inbox.

We make our own pasta everyday at 3:30pm.  That is the time when the lunch crew turns off their heat lamps and the dinner crew comes in to set up.  The residual heat makes the perfect environment to dry the pasta out.  The heat lamps kick back on at 5:00pm so it is critical that we make that window.  And everyday Altinor butchers about 20 poulet rouge chickens and makes stock from their bones.  We use this stock to braise pig ears over the course of about 6 hours.
Food tastes better when you are in touch with the source.  It adds memory to a meal when you grow vegetables yourself, or know the farmer.  We call Dale from Lake Meadows Naturals every week to snatch up his duck, chicken, and pullet eggs.  This week we paired his duck eggs to Paradise Farms oyster mushrooms and Michael Borek’s herbs from Teena’s Pride in Homestead.  We received a whole pig from Palmetto Creek Farms this week and while Brad and I were pondering approaches to the skin I was reminded of a Vietnamese pho dish that I ate in Orlando, FL.  It had shreds of pork skin that seemed almost like noodles.  So I shredded the pig ears the same way and fried them in pork fat.  It was crunchy and the thin cut took away the typical cartilage texture, which can arguably be bad or good.  The pig ears made a nice contrast to the softness of the egg and noodles and added a crunchy, salty element to an otherwise rich and earthy dish.  Borek’s herbs brighten it all up and balance it out.
Slow Foods and small farms are two things that make Michael’s special.  People often ask chefs what they like to eat when they go out, probably expecting some sort of profound answer.  Mine is pretty simple.  I want food that takes time and effort.  There are no secrets in the professional kitchen.  I can taste when you are cheating.  That’s what makes this crunchy pig ear pasta both special and unique.
— Matt Hinckley

2 thoughts on “This Little Piggy Went… on the Pasta

  1. I promise to share what the pasta is each night on Twitter (@mgfd_mia) when we find out from the kitchen before service. They change it up quite a bit based on what’s coming in from our producers, as you can tell, so it’s hard to forecast — but I’ll do my best to help you keep up!

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