Scrunchions

Scrunchions and sea salt

These are scrunchions.  They’re a bit like pork rinds.

“Pork rind” simply means pork skin.  It can refer to the fresh, raw skin cut from a side of pork, but more commonly it means pig skin that has been rendered and fried crisp.  It is actually the same as crackling, though commercially-produced pork rinds are much more delicate than the crackling that develops on oven-roasted pork.

Scrunchions are made by a similar process, but they consist of pork fat, not skin.  I know it sounds funny that deep-frying fat results in a crispy treat, but raw animal fat also contains a good deal of connective tissue that holds the fat cells in place.  When you fry strips of raw, intact pork fat, the connective tissue browns and eventually becomes crispy.

Scrunchions are one of the great achievements of Newfie cuisine, along with chow-chow, screech, and saltfish.  They also make scrunchions in Quebec, but they’re called oreilles de crisse, literally “Christ’s ears.”  Quebecois profanity is hilarious…

The scrunchions pictured above were actually baked on a wire rack, not deep-fried.  Once crisp they were removed to a paper towel and sprinkled with sea salt and chopped thyme.

How to Make a Paper Cone for Scrunchions

This is also how pastry cooks make impromptu piping bags from parchment paper.

Cut a 8″ x 8″ square of parchment paper.  Cut the square into two right angled triangles.  Orient one of the triangles so that the hypotenuse is towards you, like so:

Roll the bottom left corner so that its tip meets the tip on the top centre:

Now roll the bottom right corner around the cone, so that its tip meets the other two.

You should be able to pinch all three corners:

Fold the three corners down.  Fold them once more to secure the cone.

The cone should now hold its own shape, without the use of tape.

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