It's been a piggy kind of week . . .

So I get home from work a couple of nights ago and my husband is chomping away on a crunchy, deep-fried pig’s nipple. Ok, the politically correct term would be a teat. But nonetheless, it was still just a tad bit strange.

“You enjoying that?” I ask.

To which I receive a muffled “mmm-hmm.”

After all, it was his treat for getting up early on a Saturday morning to visit the farmers’ market with me. Just like when you need to appease a toddler with a piece of candy from the checkout line.

After perusing the market with me and picking up a handful of French radishes, a handcrafted basket, fresh jumbo brown eggs and some heirloom tomato plants, he was ready to escape my beloved urban group of tree huggers for something a bit more meaty.

Carnitas to be specific. When we purchased our ‘classic’ Honda Accord station wagon a few months ago we ran across a Latin market that we’d been salivating over. After squeezing through small aisles of papayas, limes, fresh garbanzo beans and verdant epazote, we were finally on the short list of customers in-line at the meat counter.

And, well, that’s when the choir started singing as we looked up at the piles of warm carnitas, rotisserie chickens, and most importantly, chicharrones. Chicharrones that were so large in fact, that my husband began grinning like that little boy in the Christmas Story when he spied the Red Ryder for the first time.

So what’s a chicharron you ask? Deep fried pork skin – fried twice so it becomes a crispy, honeycomb of goodness. And my husband, he lucked out because he got a chicharrones grande. Which upon giddy inspection after we carted it home in a bag that was too small to hold it, was apparently from half of an entire piggy.

“That’s more than I really need to know about my food,” he commented.

In last night's lead up to the finale of Top Chef, our favorite, Stephanie Izard had to use some quick thinking when her pork belly recipe wasn’t going to happen. Her solution, and you guessed it, a refreshing salad of tropical fruit garnished with chicharrones. Or, as Bravo is calling it, crispy pork skin. Whatever you call it, it was genius.

Oh, and the carnitas . . . that’s pork slow cooked in it’s own fat. I really need to learn to love working out.

- GE, 6/5/08

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