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.
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,
After an hour, turn the
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.
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