I have been having explicit dreams about pigs this week. It's all Ustach's fault - he told me to watch some slaughter scenes on You Tube, and I listened to him. They were gruesome, but unlike most people, they made me hungry. And he intimated to me that actually catching a wild boar at "the ranch" might be possible. I'm game - or rather it's game.
So in the middle of writing about mundane species of the Cucurbitacea clan today, bitter melons can be very enticing, I had to stop and write about pigs. I mean whole cochinito pibil, or the glorious porchetta from Monte San Savino - do my pals from Boston remember that? And then Chef M goes and writes me about a way they salt pigs in China and let them hang like ducks I guess, and then roast them. Oh Charles Lamb, I can hear you churning up the dirt in your grave for some of that.
There must be some pig-synergy in the air this week.
I did attempt a whole hog once. It's a funy story really. My colleague Edie's husband Rick bought it, and we prepared a Hawaiian Umu at his house. Or at least tried to. He lived then in the hills above Castro Valley, which is solid rock after a few feet. So we really never really did dig deep enough.
BUt it was impressive, wrapped in banana leaves and a wire cage. Laid upon hot rocks and then covered in dirt. We let it cook, or try to cook for about 8 hours. It might have worked with more depth, more fuel, and especially if he hadn't watered the area in fear of his fence catching fire.
It had to be popped in the oven for a bit longer, not an utter disaster. But I am convinced it can be done.
Or maybe I could buy one of those Chinese boxes they use in Miami. I know confusing to me too. The pig goes in an aluminum lined box, and the coals go on top. I saw some You Tube videos of it this morning and it looks quite promising. Though I really do think a spit would be more fun.
Patience, I will figure out a way. And rest assured, you are invited!