by Stefan Gates
If you find jellied pigs' feet for sale, don't turn up your nose; instead, consider yourself very lucky. Snap them up, run home, and invite some adventurous friends over for dinner, because you've found a unique and special food. I'll admit that when I first ate pigs' feet I was confused that there is no meat on them. It takes a trusted friend (that's me, since I've eaten more than my fair share of these beauties) to explain that what you're eating is the slow-cooked, tender skin and the gelatinous parts of the foot, all of which are full of unctuous goodness and deep flavor. It's a love-it-or-hate-it experience, but anyone who enjoys offal—or who hates to waste food—will revel in eating pigs' feet.
It's very easy to find cooked pigs' feet in France, Spain, and Italy, although unfortunately less so in Britain or the United States. They take a long time to cook from scratch (several hours of slow boiling), but, luckily, they also come precooked, set in their own gelatine created by the cookng process. If they haven't already been halved lengthwise, ask the butcher to do this for you, then just heat them up with some toppings before eating with lots of crusty bread.
• 3 cooked pigs' feet, halved lengthwise
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• a handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
• 1/3 cup butter
• 2 handfuls of bread crumbs
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the feet from the fridge 20 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Lay the feet cut-side up in a roasting pan; scatter the garlic and half the parsley on top.
Cut thin slivers of butter and lay on top, then sprinkle with bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.
Roast uncovered for 20 minutes, then top with the remaining parsley.
Serve with gherkins, mustard, lots of crusty French bread, and butter.