Serves 4 as an appetizer course
Sauce Ravigote (makes ~¾ cup)
Notes for success
The pig’s tails can be sous vide, deboned, wrapped in plastic and kept refrigerated for several days. The remainder of the components can be prepared several days in advance and kept refrigerated until serving.
The pig’s tails can be fried ahead of time and kept in the refrigerated for several hours or overnight. Before serving, warm them for 15 minutes in a 350F oven.
Work quickly to remove the bones from the tails, the tails will get stickier as they cool.
When coating the tails with the flour, egg, and panko mixture, handle them as little as possible so that an even coating is obtained. Use one hand to dip tails into flour and drop them into flour, another to transfer from egg to panko. Keep one hand dry and the other eggy to avoid having to clean the hands between tails. If the flour and panko are placed in shallow bowls, the tails can be rolled around in the bowls without having to touch them.
The Sauce Ravigote makes much more than the recipe calls for and can be halved.
Mince 1 large shallot (12-15g peeled) for the Sauce Ravigote and reserve a small amount for the beans.
It is difficult to pipe such a small amount of egg yolks so it’s better to make a few extra. They look very cute on the plate and are also delicious on their own and can be used as hors d’oeuvres.
The quails eggs and beans can be cooked in the same pot of water and chilled in the same ice bath.
Use a disposable piping bag or ziploc bag with small star piping tip to pipe the yolks.
For the Pig’s Tails
If the tails still have a large portion of back attached, cut them off with a sharp knife and sous vide the back pieces with the tails at the same time. If the pieces are very large, double the amount of mise en place and sous vide the back pieces in their own bag.
Make an herb sachet with the thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and garlic clove: Placing them on a small sheet of plastic wrap, roll up the sachet, and cut off the ends of the roll so that the herbs are just covered.
Pig’s tails before sous vide
Arrange the tails in a single layer in a large bag and add the chicken stock, herb sachet, carrot, celery and onion. Vacuum-pack on medium.
Cook at 82.2C (180F) for 8 hours. (SousVide Supreme preferred).
Pig’s tails after sous vide
Let the pig’s tails rest at room temperature just until they have cooled enough to handle. It is important to work with the tails while they are still warm; if they cool down too much and seize up, place them, with their liquid, in a saucepan and rewarm.
Remove the tails from the braising liquid and reserve the liquid.
Place a tail on the work surface. Make a cut down the length and, using a knife and your hands, pull back the skin and meat to expose the bones, cutting against the bones to leave as much meat as possible attached to the skin. Use your fingers to gently remove the tail bones – they should come out in one piece. Run your fingers over the meat to find any small pieces of cartilage, and remove them. Trim any rough edges. Trim off the last 2-3 inches of tail where there is little or no meat. If there was no extra back meat then reserve the trim for stuffing the tail. Bone and trim the remaining tails.
If back pieces had been sous vide, separate the meat from the bones and loosely shred the meat.
Dampen the work surface slightly with your hand or a wet kitchen towel. Place a piece of 18” wide food-safe plastic wrap long enough to enclose a tail on the surface. Lay an opened tail across the bottom of the plastic. Season well with salt and pepper. Moisten the top of the meat with about 5g (1 tsp) of the braising liquid. (The liquid is so gelatinous that it will help to hold the tail together.) If there is shredded back meat then add about 2 Tbsp of meat to the opened tail, otherwise add the 2-3” end of the tail that had been trimmed off. Folded the tail onto itself so that the narrow end overlaps with the wider end; the final shape should be of an even thickness along the length. Roll the tail up in the plastic wrap.
Grasping the two ends of the plastic wrap, roll the wrapped tails along the counter to tighten the plastic wrap until the tails are a uniform cylindrical shape. Do not overtighten. Tie the ends of the plastic wrap off to keep the shape. Repeat with the remaining tails. Refrigerate overnight, or chill in an ice bath.
Reserve the remaining braising liquid and shredded back meat for another use.
Put the flour, beaten eggs, and panko crumbs in three separate shallow dishes. Unwrap the tails and season well with salt and pepper. Line large plate (or small baking sheet) with parchment paper.
Dip the tails into the flour, patting off any excess, then into the egg, scraping off any excess, and then into the panko crumbs. Dip into the egg and panko a second time. Handle the tails as carefully as possible so that they are evenly coated. Place the tails on the plate and refrigerate to chill and set the coating.
To complete: Heat the oven to 350F. Heat the oil to 176C (350F). Be careful as you cook the tails: occasionally one may split or spit oil. Lower the tails 2 at a time into the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes, turning as necessary for even colour. Drain on paper towels, and arrange on a sheet pan. Transfer the tails to the oven to heat for at least 3 minutes, or until hot throughout.
For the Sauce Ravigote
Whisk together the mustard, shallot, vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and canola oil to emulsify. Season to taste with additional salt if necessary.
For the Quail Eggs
Bring a medium pan of water to a boil. Bring the quails eggs up to room temperature or place them in a bowl of warm tap water while the hot water comes up to a boil. Prepare an ice bath.
Add the eggs and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath to chill.
Peel the eggs and cut them lengthwise in half. Remove the yolks and pass them through a fine mesh sieve or tamis into a bowl. Stir in the crème fraîche. Add additional crème fraîche if necessary, ¼ tsp at a time, until the yolks are smooth and of a pipeable consistency.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Scrape into a small pastry bag fitted with a small star tip. Pipe the yolks into the egg whites and sprinkle with paprika. Refrigerate until time to serve.
For the Beans
Bring a large pot of salted water to boiling. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath.
Blanch the beans in the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove the beans and chill them in an ice bath.
Cut off the ends of the beans and slice them ⅛” thick on a severe diagonal.
To complete: Toss the beans with a light coating of olive oil, minced shallot, and salt and pepper to taste.
For the Frisée Salad
Toss the frisée with a light coating of olive oil, a few drops of vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
Spread a spoonful of ravigote sauce on each serving plate. Top with a small stack of the romano beans and place the tail on the beans. Sprinkle the pig’s tails with sel gris. Mound the frisee on the tails. Add two egg halves to each plate.