Eastside Road, February 20, 2010—I WROTE A WHILE BACK about the special pork purchase we made: ten pounds of sustainably raised pork, some of it from the rare Mangalitsa race. Two weeks ago we had chops from that breed; tonight we had chops from a different one Berkshire. I'm pretty sure that's a race we raised when I was a kid — I remember quite a few breeds: belted, Chester white, Duroc, but definitely Berkshire. That was only, well, let's see, sixty years ago; it's a bit surprising to me that things could have changed so much in such a short time. Berkshires an endangered race? Hard to believe.
Anyway, after a delicious Nec Plus Ultra cocktail courtesy of Curtis Faville's blog, we had these chops. As before, Lindsey broiled them simply, with only a little salt and pepper, so we could get to the truth of the matter. The truth is, Berkshire is upstairs, Mangalitsa is downstairs. What I mean is that while the Mangalitsa was floral and subtle and elegant, the Berkshire was What I Like. I was home.
It didn't hurt that as well as the broccoli, as well as the delicious baked potato dressed with olive oil and salt, we had a few griottes. Lindsey's excavations in the refrigerator have turned up a few of these: sour cherries from our tree, harvested who knows how many seasons back, pickled in white vinegar and sugar according to the recipe in The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth, a book that meant a great deal to us all those many years ago.
There was a fair amount of fat to be trimmed from these chops. The fat on the Mangalitsa was firm but silky, buttery; that on the Berkshire had more fiber. I chopped the fat into dice, say a quarter-inch on a side;
it's in a black iron skillet on top of the wood stove as I type this, and it smells absolutely wonderful. Maybe we'll have some green salad a little later.
Cheap Pinot grigio