Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 191

Scrapple: Anyone who's followed my blog knows how much I love anything made from strange animal parts. I have a definite obsession with offal, and I've often found that dishes made with it taste much better than they look or sound. However, today's new food didn't look or sound appealing right from the start.

If you've never heard of "scrapple," don't feel bad. I'd never heard of it either until my grandfather recently told me about it. We were talking about my project, and while it's probably hard for an 84 year old man to grasp why I'm doing this, he didn't hesitate to tell me about some of the strange stuff he grew up eating. He asked me if I'd heard of scrapple, and I said no. I love being stumped by anything food-related, so he proceeded to school me. Based on his description, it sounded like something reminiscent of Spam, but he seemed to enjoy it. I'll try anything once, so when I saw a package of scrapple made by Dietz & Watson at YDFM, I knew I had to have it. And at only $2, it wouldn't be a big loss if it was bad.
I didn't have anything decent at home for lunch today, so I finally gave this strange-sounding scrapple a try. My grandfather had mentioned that he used to just pan-fry it until brown on each side, so I decided to get my redneck on and make a sandwich out of it with a Pillsbury "Grands" biscuit and a fried egg added. Can you tell I grew up in the south? Oh, and if you're curious about the ingredients, here they go as listed: pork stock, pork, pork skins, pork snouts, corn meal, pork liver, whole wheat flour, salt, spices. I'm guessing the name comes from the use of all those pork "scraps."
While the biscuits were baking, I fried the scrapple for about 5 minutes on each side to get it a bit brown and crispy. It cracked and popped a lot in the pan, but surprisingly, not that much grease rendered out. It smelled like bacon (or gravy) cooking, so I was excited to taste the results. I took the scrapple out of the pan, fried the egg, then assembled the sandwich.
How was it? Actually, really tasty. Imagine a solid, chewable version of sausage gravy, and you'll have a good idea of what this was about. It wasn't as greasy as I expected (much less so than bacon or plain sausage), and the salty, porky flavor paired well with the biscuit and runny fried egg. If you like sausage gravy, you'd love scrapple. One of my readers suggested pairing it with apple butter, and I'd imagine that salty/sweet combo would be awesome.

Interestingly, this version was also labeled "Philadelphia Style," and the D&W website says it's "an original Philadelphia breakfast delicacy and the only true Philadelphia Scrapple available in the market." According to Wikipedia, it was created by Dutch colonists and popularized in the Pennsylvania area. I'm glad that happened, because I've discovered a new favorite.

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