February 9th, 2016
When I’m in Barcelona, I look out for peus de ministre – ministers feet. They were for sale in the Auiram Carnisseria (the butcher above) at €4.70 a kilo and they are available in the Boqueria for a similar price.
I know peus de ministre sounds a bit weird, but ministers feet are actually pig trotter confit.
I assume that the trotters are salt cured for 36 hours or so with herbs and spices, as with duck and then they are cooked very slowly at a low temperature – the whole process preserves them. Before the advent of refrigeration and vacuum sealing, meat that had been cooked in this way was immersed in fat, which would keep it preserved for several months in a larder.
These vacuum packed trotters have a 3 month sell by date and can be heated up when needed. The flesh is already soft and succulent, having been previously cooked for several hours.
They can be warmed up in a hot oven for 30 minutes, or more quickly under the grill (broiler) and even on the hob in a frying pan. Unlike confit duck they do not release much fat, so beware of cooking them too long as the flesh starts to stick solidly to the bones.
Cook the lentils and then heat the trotters separately before serving on top. Peus de ministre taste so good that they can only be bettered by Pierre Koffman or Marco Pierre White’s trotters stuffed with foie gras.