Ever since Alex posted about his homemade, baked pork scratchings, I have been wanting to do them. My favourite bar snack, in the privacy of my own home, and what could be simpler?
You just salt some pork skin, leave it in the fridge for a couple of days to dry out thoroughly, and roast them until they crackle. Right?
Well, my first problem was getting the pork skins. Our local butcher isn't a proper butcher - they get pre-wrapped cuts of meat from some sort of central depot, and they have no idea of the provenance of any of the meat, so I don't shop there.
What I ended up doing was ordering a couple of nice, organic rolled pork belly joints from the Well Hung Meat Company, with the intention of making bacon from the meat, and using the skins for the scratchings.
I cut the skins into pieces (using kitchen scissors - much easier to handle than a knife), salted them and put them uncovered into the fridge for a couple of days.
Then I carefully wiped off the salt and water that had leached out of them, put them in a baking tin, dusted them with fennel pollen and roasted them, according to Alex's instructions. This was my second problem. Alex said it should take about 90 minutes, starting at 180C and reducing the heat to 140C. Well, after 2 hours at 140C I put the heat back up to 180C and it still took a total of 4 hours to crisp properly!
The end result was fabulous - the perfect texture and a wonderful aroma from the fennel pollen, but having the oven on for 4 hours just for this is a bit too extravagant. Still - if you can find something better with a glass of German wheat beer, I would like to hear about it!