Recipe: Iowa Pork Fries

An Iowa Pork Fries dish by Chef Joshua Pardie — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

No matter what you call it (pork fries, cowboy caviar, Rocky Mountain oysters, prairie oysters), or how you prepare it (broiled, smoked, fried, accompanied with a variety of sauce options), at the end of the day, you’re eating a testicle.

Rocky Mountain oysters were one of the first “exotic” foods I tried. I was 14 and on my first trip to Colorado. It set me down a road of fearless eating and new experiences in taste and textures that eventually led to my becoming a chef.

Here is my play on the classic Montana tenderloin made with pig testicles. A basic pork fry recipe as well as two other recipes combine to complete a full dish: Iowa pork fries over lemon soubise topped with a pear and tarragon chutney.

Pork Fries
  • 2 lbs of pork testicles, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp mustard (I prefer Colman’s)
  • 4 cups of frying oil

Soak sliced testicles in cold water for 15 minutes. While slices are soaking, whisk together all dry ingredients and, in a separate container, the eggs and mustard. Slowly start heating oil to 325 degrees. Pat slices dry and pound thin. Dip each slice in the egg and mustard followed by a dip in the dry mix. Fry 3 to 3 1/2 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool.

  • 1 whole white onion (roasted unpeeled for 20-25 minutes at 450 degrees or until soft all the way through)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp butter

Peel roasted onion and place in blender or food processor. Add salt and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Add butter and blend until a slightly thicker consistency but still pourable. (Note: Roasting the onions peel-on gives the soubise a bright color.)

Pear and Tarragon Chutney
  • 1 red pear
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped tarragon

Dice pear, shallot and garlic. On medium-high heat, melt the butter on the stove and add diced ingredients as well as crushed red pepper. Sautee until golden brown and aromatic. Add salt and brown sugar. Deglaze with wine and lemon juice. Turn down heat and simmer until all liquid has reduced down. Let cool and fold in your chopped tarragon.

Both the soubise and chutney can be made before the pork testicles are fried. The plating is ultimately up to you, so get creative and enjoy.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 287.

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