Cockscombs

We know of them as the bright red adornments on roosters’ heads, however the fleshy growth known as the comb (or cockscomb) can be found on the top of many birds, including turkey and pheasant. In France, the combs are used as garnishes for dishes, and also as part of a preparation where they would be minced and combined with a sauce which in turn could be used in a variety of ways.  The Italians used to use them in an old recipe called Cimabella con cibreo, where they were combined with chicken livers and eggs in a sauce with tagliatelle in a ring molded with potato and ricotta. They’ve recently made a comeback of sorts thanks to Chris Cosentino, for example for his restaurant’s 4th Annual “Head to Tail” Dinner he whipped up candied cockscomb with cherries and rice pudding dessert.

If you’d like to play, once you’ve obtained some combs, you’ll need to clean them.  Using a sewing needle, prick the combs all over, then submerge them in water and squeeze.  This will help remove any remaining blood.  Next you’ll need to boil them, which will loosen the skin which should peel off easily, much like skinning a tongue.  Then you can begin working with them much as you would any tough cut of meat, with braising tending to be the preferred method.  They don’t sport a lot of flavor, but the texture has been compared to gummy candy.


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