Monday, June 20, 2011

Fried Tripe

I’ve decided to dive head first into the wide world of offal and I sincerely hope you pictured that in your head.  Tripe is eaten pretty much everywhere in the world, so it must be at least palatable.  I’m hesitant to try it, but I've enjoyed liver and pate in the past so I guess it’s not so different…aside from the attached stigma I mean.  If nothing else, you can’t say tripe isn’t versatile.  There are a billion different recipes for it.  Between my own laziness, and the fact that I recently inherited what can only be described as an irresponsible amount of bread crumbs from my old roomies, I think a simple fry recipe would be good.  

You need
Beef tripe: Tripe is inexpensive to the point of being worrying.
Bread crumbs: Seriously, they gave me 3 full canisters of bread crumbs.  

Total cost:$1 - $10

This smells kinda like cat shit.  I'm not kidding.

Now the hell of it, aside from smelling like cat shit, is that you have to boil tripe for a long ass time to tenderize it.  Tripe is really tough and hard to digest so people with digestive disorders and gout should steer clear of this.  Prior to cooking, it also has to be cleaned.  I got mine from a store and I'm sure it was cleaned before it was packaged, but better safe than sorry.  Improperly prepared tripe is terrible for you and dangerous to eat.  Submerge the tripe in cold water and let it soak overnight.  Change the water frequently and scrub off any stuff clinging to the tripe.  Again, there weren’t any nasty things on mine and the color was fine, I’m just being cautious.  

Anyway, once that’s done, toss it into a big pot of water and bring it to a low boil.  You can spice it if you want.  Toss in a bay leaf or some nutmeg or whatever.  Apparently you can make good stock out of tripe, but frankly I just don’t want to.  Cover it and let it boil until the tripe is tender.  Depending on the type of tripe and how big the pieces are this can take between 1 and 6 hours.  Mine was honeycomb tripe cut into thin strips so this took me about 2 hours.  

This smells a bit like someone vomited stomach acid into a bowl of warm saltwater.  Again, I'm not kidding.

 It’s tender enough when you can easily cut it with a kitchen knife.  Cut the tripe into strips if it isn’t already.  Mine are about the size of a finger.  I rubbed the stripes down with black pepper and salt.  Feel free to experiment with different spices, those two just seemed like the safest choices.

Using flour and water, make a thin paste to coat the strips.  Dip the strips in that and roll them in bread crumbs.  

Heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat.  If you’re not sure when it’s ready, put a drop of batter in the pan.  If it’s hot enough, the oil around it will start to bubble.

Fry each strip until both sides are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Transport the finished strips onto some paper towels to drain.

Be honest, would you be able to recognize this as tripe?  Also it doesn't smell bad anymore.

Ok, I swear this is true:  it’s kind of like a cross between fried calamari and a mozzarella cheese stick.  Like calamari, it’s chewy and the meat itself has little flavor, but like the cheese it’s kinda ropey and soft.  By itself it’s fine, if a little boring.  Some Dijon mustard livens it up nicely.  Honestly, I could see this fitting in at a pub or grill quite nicely, provided that the name was changed or the locals were just really ok with tripe.  I'd like to experiment with more spices and maybe some different batters. This really surprised me.  Stay queer!

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