Pork Scratchings with Lime, Chilli and Salt

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4

    with drinks

Appears in

Recipes from Brixton Village

Recipes from Brixton Village

By Miss South

Published 2014

  • About
Inspired by Carniceria Los Andes

People often think of pork scratchings as a traditionally British thing served with pints of mild in a pub with an open fire, but they are actually widely eaten worldwide. They are especially popular in South and Central America where they are known as chicharrón. In Colombia, they form the basis of a meal rather than just being a snack. When I saw that Carniceria Los Andes in the Village sells pork skin, I knew that I had to try mixing the two styles to create the ultimate scratchings... You may think a kilogram of pork skin sounds like a lot, but the skin reduces in size as you cook it, and these are so delicious you’ll want extra. Any pink or purple markings on the skin are harmless.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pork skin
  • 2 teaspoons white or malt vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon shichimi tōgarashi or red chilli flakes

Method

Ask your butcher to cut the skin into long strips about 3cm wide. If you want to use the scratchings for dipping, leave them like this. Otherwise, cut them into squares of about 3cm.

Wrap the skin in kitchen paper or a tea towel for an hour to absorb any excess moisture. Then lay the pieces on a chopping board and brush the upper side only with the vinegar. If you do this with the cut pieces, it crisps the edges more than doing it in one piece. Rub with a tablespoon of the sea salt and leave them, uncovered, in the fridge overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 160°C and place the pork skin on a rack above a deep roasting tin, to catch the fat as it renders out. Cook the scratchings for an hour at this low heat, checking halfway through. You will be amazed by how much fat drains out of them at this stage.

After an hour, turn the heat up to 220°C and roast the scratchings for about 10–15 minutes, checking to make sure they don’t burn. They should be golden brown and nicely puffed up at this stage. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool.

While the scratchings are cooking, zest or grate the limes onto a microwave-safe plate. Dry the zest out in the microwave in 20 second bursts until it is powdery but not yellowed. This took about 1 minute 40 seconds for me.

When the scratchings have cooled for about 5 minutes, spritz them with the lime juice and then sprinkle the lime zest, chilli flakes and remaining sea salt on them so that it all sticks to the skin.

Leave the house or distract yourself well for the next 45 minutes or so to allow the scratchings to cool completely so that you aren’t tempted to start snacking on them until they are crisped and crunchy. Your will-power will be tested to the limits at this stage.

If you don’t devour all of these in one sitting with a cold crisp beer and good company, they will keep for several days in an airtight container.