We might as well talk about chicken feet while we’re on the subject of trotters. They’re eaten all over the world but aren’t common in the United States. They’ve intrigued me ever since I heard Melissa Clark describe how she used to test guys she was dating by taking them to dim sum. Her favorite was the chicken feet, and if the guy was disgusted by them, she knew it wouldn’t work out. She’s not alone. Our friend from Shanghai told me that chicken feet were her absolute favorite.
Am I as enthusiastic about chicken feet? I wouldn’t say so. They look almost reptilian, and I can’t get past their gelatinous quality. That texture seems highly prized in many Asian cultures, but I can’t get into it. So I tried grilling them to get the skin crispy. The worst part is trimming the nails! I used garden shears, and it reminded me of trimming my cat’s nails but worse. Ew!
Crispy Chicken Feet based on a Jennifer McLagan recipe from Bones
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin or white wine
- 3 slices fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 large strips lemon peel
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 teaspoons chinese 5 spice powder
- 1 pound chicken feet
1. Combine all the ingredients except the chicken feet in a Dutch oven and add two cups. of water. Bring to a boil on a stove top, and then turn down the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Remove the claws from the chicken feet. Then place them in a saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, then drain them and rinse under cold water.
3.After the braising liquid has simmered at least 30 minutes, add the feet, and place the Dutch oven in the oven for 3 hours.
4. Remove the feet from the oven and reserve the liquid.
5. Light a hot fire on the grill, and grill the feet for about 5 minutes per side, or until the skin is crispy. Serve with hoison sauce for dipping.