Monday, August 29, 2011
A Mex-periment, and the Folly of Making Culinary Assumptions
K&S World Market labelled these strange little orange wagon wheels "Pasta Para Chicharron". I found them on a table in the produce aisle, and culinary experimenter that I am, I brought a package home.
Neither Rick Bayless or Diana Kennedy mentioned them, but this did not worry me since they did not mention Mexican vermicelli, or fideo, either, and I had cooked that pasta without a problem. And some research on the web at least told me that "chicharron" was pork skin. So there it was -pasta made of flour and pork.
What condiment would one use on pork skin pasta?
A good one, made with white onions, Mexican chorizo,poblano peppers, queso, crema, and avocado. I was proud of myself.
I threw the pasta into boiling water. I thought eight minutes would be enough. But it was still too chewy. At twelve minutes the chewiness persisted, but I drained it and dumped it in a bowl, fearing that any more boiling might cause it to self destruct. I took a cupful and tossed it with the sauce, and covered it with crumbled cheese. I took a mouthful, then told myself that this, like cactus paddles and prickly pears, must be an acquired taste. The pasta had all the charm of a tasteless gummy candy.
I planned to feed the rest of the wagon wheels to my dogs as treats and bribes. But once again, I found enlightenment on-line. I put a few inches of canola oil in a deep pan, heated it to frying hot, and tossed in the orange wheels. I watched them burst into pork skin snacks, fit for the corrida or a Titan's game. Feed these, salted,along with guacamole or cheese dip to a Super Bowl party, and your husband will have second thoughts about ever leaving you.