The porterhouse. Pork tenderloin. Crown roast. Foie gras. Whole suckling pigs. These, truly, are the kings and queens of the meat universe. Today, it’s not particularly difficult to find the prime cuts afforded only by the very wealthy (especially if you’re shopping online at D’Artagnan, in which case it’s downright easy). However, for most of our history as a species, those choice meats were exceedingly rare on our supper plates, unless of course you were one of the aforementioned nobles. For the rest of us, learning how to prepare -- and eventually master -- all the little scraps and bobs and organs, what many still today refer to as the “nasty bits,” was not just clever product utilization. It was the key to survival.Yes, we’re talking about offal. The word itself literally comes from an old English contraction of “off” and “fall,” as in, “What is that weird, slimy thing that just fell off the butcher block? Think we can eat it?” Organs and skeletal meats galore, everything from the tip to the tail. Very recently, there’s been a massive resurgence in cooks -- in the spirit of British chef Fergus Henderson -- wanting to return to the basics, to learn how to prepare foods that were once only the domain of the poor and desperate. And thank goodness for that, because we absolutely adore ourselves some offal here at D’Artagnan.Need interesting ideas for cooking up some bits and bobs? We’ve got you covered. Here are a few of our favorites:
And those are only the beginning of the wide world of offal, of course. If you’re just as gleeful about edible animals as we are, there are myriad ideas and recipes for enjoying “everything but the moo, quack and squeal.” The best part is that they are often so much less expensive than those kingly cuts, but they can be just as delicious. Roasted marrow bones topped with sea salt? Pork spleen sandwich, Sicilian-style? Long-simmered chicken feet? Braised lamb’s neck? Count us “offally” excited!