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The Incredible Edible Cockscomb

10/5/2009 10:59:44 AM

Tags: Great Writing, food writing, Italy, Gastronomica, Danielle Maestretti

Rooster with cockscombYou know that funny little red thing on the top of a rooster’s head? It’s called a cockscomb, and as Francine Segan recounts for Gastronomica, it’s very tasty:

What are these morsels that look like the fingers of a doll-sized woolen globe? . . . We take a taste. The spikes are slightly gelatinous, with hints of delicate frog-leg flavor. “Delicious” is the consensus.

Segan stumbles upon this rare ingredient on a trip to the Piedmont region of northern Italy, where cockscomb is a vital ingredient in a stew known as la finanziera, a 200-year-old dish that also utilizes a rooster’s wattles and testicles (among many other ingredients). The cockscomb seems to be the star of the show, though, which makes sense given the amount of work that goes into its preparation:Gastronomica, Summer 2009

Cleaning the cockscombs, which have a thick outer skin loaded with feathers, is a labor-intensive task. The feathers are plucked, and any tiny strays are burned off with a flame. The cockscombs are then washed, blanched, and soaked in lemon juice to loosen the tough skin. The entire staff, even the busboys, gathers around the kitchen table every Wednesday to peel off this outer layer. “You have to handle the crests gently, like a beautiful woman, so as not to ruin the pretty tips,” Chef Beppe laughs.

The article isn't available online, but if you're up for a cockscomb adventure, track down the Summer 2009 issue of Gastronomica—Segan includes two recipes (including one for la finanziera) at the end of the piece.

Source: Gastronomica 

Image by Tennessee Wanderer, licensed under Creative Commons.



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Post a comment below.

 

Carrie_3
10/17/2009 8:58:48 PM
well you know, if you're going to kill a chicken, might as well use the whole thing. if you eat meat, then you should not be upset, people eat testicles don't they? human testicles? why not.

Raza_2
10/8/2009 10:49:15 AM
francine is a barbarian not to mention a witch with a capital B . Imagine her chewing chomp chomp , imagine her adding the bits to her stew .

Raza_2
10/8/2009 10:49:12 AM
francine is a barbarian not to mention a witch with a capital B . Imagine her chewing chomp chomp , imagine her adding the bits to her stew .

Raza_2
10/8/2009 10:49:06 AM
francine is a barbarian not to mention a witch with a capital B . Imagine her chewing chomp chomp , imagine her adding the bits to her stew .

Raza_2
10/8/2009 10:49:03 AM
francine is a barbarian not to mention a witch with a capital B . Imagine her chewing chomp chomp , imagine her adding the bits to her stew .

Sara_3
10/6/2009 5:54:21 PM
Couldn't have said it better myself San, except I might add that men's or women's "little things" would taste delicious and garner just as much attention as the poor hapless rooster donor's. Hard to believe that in this time people are still publicly discussing such barbarism, and even more unbelievable that Utne is publishing such trash.

san_1
10/6/2009 3:32:37 PM
You know those funny little things hanging down between a man's legs. They're called testicles. Francine, why don't you take a taste of them? Humans continue to come up with ways to prolong the suffering of other living creatures. Let's try their tasty little cocks combs and see how they like it.



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