A prediction on the verge of 2017: heads will roll in the new year. Literally, roll into kitchens and onto plates for anxious diners.
The dish pictured above put me over the edge on this forecast. Dining with my pal Gourmet Rambler in Chicago, we dove into a plate of MFK's Catalan-inspired Crunchy Prawn Heads Xato. Chewing, crunching, and slurping out the meat, these lovelies were a revelation.
They made me think about how much goes to waste when we disregard the head.
Cheeks can be a gateway. I'm thinking of the West Village bistro MIMI and its rich, glorious Wagyu Beef Cheeks. I'm reminiscing about Brooklyn Heights trattoria Noodle Pudding and its bright, beautiful Bass Cheek Salad. And, then there is the porky, smokey, Guanciale-packed Pasta alla Gricia, made at home or served at many a fine Italian restaurant across the country.
All of that paves the way for a full-on (or half) head experience. One of my most memorable, is the General Tso's half pig head feast at the meat-rific Cannibal. We're talking about hunks of gorgeous, heavenly, juicy meat accompanied by super crisp pork skin, in a slightly sweet, sometimes spicy glaze.
All I can say, is overlooking the head is to miss a great pleasure. And, I am hoping for great pleasure in 2017.