Ironically, these days the cheap and tasty pig’s foot is not a very popular cut outside our Michelin three-star restaurants, where Pierre Koffmann of La Tante Claire first made them gourmet fare by stuffing them with truffles and foie gras.
Jellied trotters are less exotic but very easy to make – if labour-intensive – and their high natural gelatine content means the cooking liquid sets to a splendid jelly. For this reason a split trotter is a good thing to include in any stew, where it gives both textural and flavour benefits.
The whole process set out below takes several days, so plan well ahead.
Have the butcher split the trotters lengthwise for you. When you get them home, singe off any hairs with your blow torch or children’s cigarette lighter, then give them a good scrub, paying particular attention to the pedicure.
Put them in a pan with plenty of water and bring to the boil. Throw this away and rinse and scrub the trotters again under cold running water.
Being very rich, the trotters benefit from an initial salting. Scatter salt on a tray, lay the split trotters on it, cut side down, and scatter more salt on top. Cling-wrap and refrigerate. After 24 hours, turn them and give them another 24 hours.
Rinse, bring to the boil in plenty of water, boil for 5 minutes and throw away the water. Rinse out the pan and rinse the trotters under cold running water, then put them back in the pan with the wine and all but
Add the onions, carrots, celery, a handful of parsley stalks, the bay leaves, peppercorns and cloves. Simmer for 5–6 hours. Leave them to cool in the liquid, which may already be close to a set. If so, turn on the heat until it liquefies before you remove the trotters, otherwise they will come out with lots of sticky jelly on them and be more difficult to handle.
Pull out all the bones with your fingers, before cutting up the flesh and skin into bite-sized pieces and putting them in a bowl. Pour
To the trotter meat, add the remaining white wine vinegar, the thinly sliced shallots, chopped capers and chopped parsley leaves. Toss together with a spoon and pack loosely into a shallow rectangular dish. Pour over the reduced liquid to cover and refrigerate to set.
Cut the set jelly into rectangles and serve with an astringent orange, red onion and olive salad and plenty of dry toast.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.