I am here today to talk about the mighty mangalista. Never heard of it? That's okay. Up until about a year ago, when I started hanging out with my extremely food-centric friends (note that I did not use the term "Foodie". Evidently that's a bad word), I hadn't either. The food folks were talking about it because it is raised specifically for its lard, and evidently tastes better than most other pigs. Now, that's saying a lot. Those that know me realize very quickly that I am a fan of all things porcine. In fact, I would have made a terrible Jewish guy- I love bacon, chops, tenderloin, belly, skin, etc, etc, etc. When I heard that there was this super-pig hailing from Hungary, I had to check it out. Then I had to eat one.
Much like the Budini, an elusive cat in the hills of Argentina, I had a hard time tracking one of these monsters down. I would hear about them popping up for a night or two at a restaurant, but by the time I got there, they had already been eaten.
What was a guy on a mission to eat a wooly pig to do?
Stumble into one.
Yesterday, I was having a "business lunch" at the Crossing. Ian, the chef there, came out and asked the magical question: "Have you all ever heard of Mangalista"?
Me! Me! Me!
Look over here!
Long story short, he served up some piggy ribeyes that were one of the best things I have eaten pig-wise in my life. The meat was tender, with just enough bite to keep it from being soggy. The flavor was amazing, as the fat on the pig is- I don't know- sort of lighter than your normal pork chop. It was freaking delicious, and worth the wait.
Should you come across a Mangalista, either on the street, or in a restaurant, grab a bottle of high acid red wine (we had a Barbaresco, and a Barolo with ours), and dig in. You'll thank me for it.