Cheek to Cheek
By Gastronaut - Monday, Aug 19, 2013
Pig’s cheek is often so under-rated as an ingredient, that it has fallen off the radar of most food lovers. The modern purveyors of such uncelebrated cuts include the award winning Fergus Henderson, who runs the much vaunted St John Restaurant in London, known for its “head to toe” cuisine. Often regarded as tough and indigestible, but pig’s cheek, when handled well, yields a wonderful, unique texture that literally caresses the tongue seductively.
Many chefs would use it for stew and slow cook it to give it a meltingly soft texture, but we much prefer to do a quick-fry with the thinly sliced meat. This way, the meat remains crunchy and packed with the meaty flavour. In the following recipe, we pair pig’s cheek with tangy and fresh pineapple. Or you may also use peaches or assorted peppers.
Stir-fried Pig’s Cheek with Caramelised Pineapple
250 g Pig’s cheek (sliced at 60°)
2 slices Ginger
1 Red Chili
2 tbsp Chinese wine
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Dark soya sauce
½ tbsp Potato flour (mixed with 1 ½ tbsp of water)
¼ tsp Sesame oil
A dash of white pepper
2 cups Oil
½ tbsp Water
1 tsp Oyster sauce
½ tsp Soya sauce
1 tsp Chinese wine
¼ tsp White pepper
¼ tsp Sesame Oil
½ tsp Potato flour
1) Add water to pork to keep the meat moist during cooking. Marinate pork according to the sequence. Mix thoroughly before sealing the meat with potato flour. Chill it for 30 minutes.
2) Pan fry or grill pineapple until the surface is caramelised. Set aside.
3) Heat oil and blanch meat for 20 seconds, remove and drain thoroughly.
4) Drain oil leaving about 1 tbsp of it in the wok. Saute ginger, onion and chili until they are slightly browned.
5) Add pork and pineapple and continue to stir-fry. Pour Chinese wine around the circumference of the wok gradually. Once the wine spirit evaporates, add salt and dark soy sauce.
6) Thicken the meat with potato starch when the liquid in the wok is reduced significantly.
7) Sprinkle sesame oil and white pepper to add the final touches.
8) Garnish it with coriander before serving.
Note: The whole process of Steps 5 and 6 should be executed in not more than 2 minutes, or the meat will be over-cooked.