The most difficult part of this recipe is procuring the cockscombs. But we have our ways. We approached Shirokane Tori-Tama for a favour, as cockscombs are a common yakitori ingredient. When raw, cockscombs are light and tender, like the smooth, inner ear of a kitten. Braising softens them even more to a consistency similar to gummy bears.
The comb is a fleshy growth or crest on the top of the head of gallinaceous birds, such as turkeys and chicken. And the combs we did manage to get were beige, not red like the ones we see in the book. This unusual delicacy has a place in French gastronomic history – it was used to make vol-au-vents or sauces for pastas, but Chris Cosentino has other, sweeter plans for this elusive ingredient.
Candied Cockscombs, Rice Pudding & Pomegranate
Serves 4 | Level: EASY | Total time: 3 hours + 30 minutes chill time
12 cockscombs, cleaned, but not cooked
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
8 cups sugar
3 cups pomegranate juice
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
¼ cup lemon juice
- In a heavy-bottomed pot, place the cockscombs in 2 quarts cold water and bring to a boil. Remove the cockscombs and rinse with cold water. Re-cover the cockscombs with fresh water, add 2 cups of sugar and 1 vanilla bean pod (use seeds in the pudding), and stir. Cook the cockscombs at a moderate simmer, skimming any scum off the surface of the water, until they are soft, about 1½ hours.
- Meanwhile, prepare the syrup by combining the remaining sugar, the remaining vanilla bean and seeds, and pomegranate juice in a heavy stockpot over medium heat. Whisk the pomegranate molasses into the syrup and adjust the flavor with lemon juice. Remove from heat and set aside until the cockscombs finish cooking.
- Drain the cockscombs. Heat the pomegranate syrup to just below a simmer and add the cockscombs. Stir well, and cook over a very gentle heat, stirring occasionally, until the cockscombs look like gummy bears melting in your pocket, 30 to 45 minutes. Cool, and refrigerate the cockscombs in the syrup.
1 cup short-grain Italian rice, like Arborio or Carnaroli
5¾ cups whole milk
1 bay leaf
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
¼ cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream, or as needed
1 cup pomegranate seeds
- Place the rice, milk, bay leaf, and vanilla bean in a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat to low, stirring every few minutes to ensure the rice does not stick to the bottom. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy, 20 to 30 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Remove the bay leaf and vanilla bean, and stir in the sugar. Pour the pudding into a container and press plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate until chilled.
- When ready to serve, slowly stir in the cream until the pudding is loose but will still hold some shape on a plate or in a bowl.
- To serve, place a few heaping spoonfuls of rice pudding in the center of each plate. Take 3 warm cockscombs and arrange them atop the pudding. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and some pomegranate syrup.
Offal Good is published by Clarkson Potter Publishers. © by Chris Cosentino.
For SALT’s full review, download our October/November 2017 issue! Meanwhile, here are the other dishes from the book that we tested: “Three Little Piggies” Pig’s Brain and Porcini On Toast; and Grandma Rosalie’s Tripe.