As my bite collapses further, I get the enjambment of mayo, lettuce, fried breading and the delicious creaminess of the croquette filling that took me back to the beautiful fried fish sandwiches I used to get at Ruhling’s Seafood [now closed] in Northeast Philly.
His process for the trotters was also involved.
After roasting the feet off for about an hour, he charred onions and roasted garlic. In a pot with wine, water, a ham bone, and shoulder blade bones, he submerged the feet and set them to braise for eight hours. Then, he stripped off the skin, meat, fat and seasoned it heavily before buzzing it in a food processor with some more stock.
That sat overnight before being cut into squares and given a requisite double breading.
“It turns into liquid in the middle. It’s fried liquid pork,” Val says.
If you don’t double bread, you can watch that sweet sweet pork disappear like tears in the rain.
“The stock that comes off of that is super thickened gelatin. You can bounce a quarter off of it. Before they’re breaded, the croquettes are like rubber. Once they fry—and that’s why you have to double bread it—they turn into liquid pork.”
A smear of rick egg yolk added to the croquette’s creaminess, while the pickles, coleslaw, and pickled tomato brought needed contrast with their acid and crunch.
On finishing, I surprisingly didn’t feel like I had eaten a pig bomb (I had a bitter green heavy salad afterwards, nonetheless.)
Val is currently doing a version of the sandwich minus the trotters, called The Pig Fillet, though he has said he’ll take special requests and the ‘main event’ version could pop back on the menu as a special.