Organ Recital: Fried Head Cheese at Cafe Breslin

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The gorgeous foliage in front of Cafe Breslin was intended, not for your pleasure, but to hide the barroom from the mosque across the street.

No dish has caused more buzz at Cafe Breslin than the fried headcheese, a novel preparation that takes you one step deeper into the pit of nutritional hell.

Indeed, chef April Bloomfield's menu at Breslin is filled with offal and variety meats, and half the stuff on it is fried. On it you can find cracklin's (fried pork skins), bone marrow soup, smoked pork belly, braised beef shin, and--the tour-de-force--stuffed pig's foot for two. How romantic!

The fried headcheese is the most challenging, however. It's made with a cold headcheese terrine that appears on one of the appetizing platters, cut into small cubes, breaded, fried, and served with a smear of mustard and some chopped egg white. Four cubes seems like a small serving, but there is probably no richer appetizer on earth. The outside is more thickly breaded than you might expect, and cooked a dark brown. The interior is at once squishy, oily, and gelatinous, and it squirts into your mouth like--oh, never mind!

Headcheese is a gelatinous mixture of scraps taken from the pig's face, including ears, cheeks, brows, chins, etc., but usually not eyes. Below is the fried headcheese at Cafe Breslin.

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