Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Brasserie Bofinger - Pied de Porc

I decided that, feeling French, and in the absence of any work to do (I was on holiday) I'd enjoy a drink and a scoff at one of the oldest brasseries in Paris: Bofinger. I was told that they serve one of the best pig's feet dishes in all of France. Pistol Pete that it was not to be missed. Nor the decor, the service, the amazing wine list, and the general ambiance.

Although Bofinger wasn't around during the revolution of 1799 when the Bastille was razed, it sits right next to that monument in the Marais/Faubourg and would have been packed to the rafters for the almighty piss-up that ensued. This fine institution also introduced 'draught beer' to Paris during the phylloxera infestation that destroyed much of France's grape harvest in the late 1800s. Brasserie Bofinger and its environs, it seems, are famous for more than one kind of revolution.

I kicked lunch off with a superbly constructed martini, and took a long lingering look at the wine list. I also had my eye on a dozen Belon oysters before the famous pied de porc. Our waiter, an elderly chap who'd been around during the revolution, wanted to know if I'd eaten pied de porc before. "Oh yes, Matos, we eat all kinds of shit in England you know!" He looked at me as if I'd made an unexpected confession, which of course I had. We both knew though, that I was about to amazed.

I thought the poor bugger's knees might snap as he staggered over with my big pile of glistening burnished meat, with chips of course, and he was visibly relieved to set it down on the table. "Bon appetit!".
Trotters are not easy things to eat. The best bet, I thought, might be to pick it up and eat it like corn on the cob, but with all these fussy French sods loafing around and eyeing the Brit suspiciously, I thought I'd be good and make the first incisions with knife and fork. The first incision punctured the crisp orange mantle of pork skin with a thud and the point of the knife went effortlessly through the whole trotter stopping only when it hit fine old porcelain on the other side. I put my greasy thumbs either side of the first incision and applied a gentle pressure. A rivulet of shiny golden fat and gelatin came oozing out and made a smart puddle on my plate. I spent a few minutes glueing a few of my chips together while I though about the elusive ruby red pearls of meat inside the foot, and how good all that crisp skin will taste when I finally get in on board. There is not a lot of meat on a foot (check your own and you'll see) but what it lacks in protein, it makes up for in gelatinous gloopiness and downright satisfaction. A messy 30 minutes later and my foot had been reduced to a pile of bleached white toe bones, a few bits of hairy skin, and a somewhat plumper, happier Teddy.


Jason said...

Dude! I'm well jealous! looks amazing!!!

Canadian Bacon said...

Nice - can't wait to try that hairy knuckled pig foot when I go this October!

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