This post all started with a pig. A pig aptly named Grey Spot.
Last and this month, I’ve been consumed with work conferences and prepping for four (!) lectures (I’m not a fan of public speaking). When the last lecture was done last week, I pretty much tuned out as much as I could that week save for direct work needs. Limiting my multitasking is not a gift usually. One thing I found myself inexplicably drawn to was the sighting of a 200 pound silvery bristled hog.
The drive to Sky-Girl’s preschool takes us through a modest neighborhood that winds through streets with red brick, clapboard-sided, and ranch homes. There are parents waiting for kids at the bus stop coming home from school. There are a few picket fences. The autumn leaves range from orange to yellow to brown speckled in mostly green in our mild Georgia fall. A tall gingko tree stands in one yard, the yellow leaves waiting for their mass exodus. Just up the hill from this tree at an unassuming intersection, there is a pig.
Sky-Girl first noticed and named this porcine lug Grey Spot. We’ve never had actual communication with Grey Spot’s family and never confirmed the pig’s real name. Sky-Girl knows this pig through some deep, though spotty, connection and deftly determined that this pig is a “he” because “he just is.” In this particular pig’s eye did I think I’d be so gleeful to see his bloated, silvery, spotty body sunning himself, rooting in the dirt of his yard, or flicking his long and not-so-curly tail while sniffing the afternoon air. The weather must be right: anything below 60 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold for a nearly naked though unquestionably fat-layered animal. I’ve found myself checking the forecast before driving through the neighborhood sometimes so as to anticipate a sighting. He is usually sleeping, sleeping, or sleeping. Or maybe staring at the road as I drive a little more slowly to get a glimpse, squealing with glee (that’s me squealing, not the pig). What does he eat? Sky-Girl wondered aloud one day. Surely he has a varied diet of special pig feed and maybe even leftovers from the inside kitchen (does he live inside too?!). I imagine Grey Spot has tasted more than a typical farm pig, sampling a hamburger or two, maybe Cheerios, bananas, ice cream on a hot day, and day-old plain pasta noodles.
Not that a pig couldn’t help us clean up leftovers, but a better way to finish your pasta bits and feeding the pig a less desirable leftovers is to make spaghetti fritters. Leftover noodles are always a thorn in my side. They sit in the fridge usually ignored except occasionally eaten by Sky-Girl. Week-old noodles just aren’t the same as fresh. Cold and slightly dried out pasta’s destiny are these fritters. If you are one of the lucky ones without leftover pasta, you can cook it up fresh but just less than al dente timing. Even better when you spot them with herbs. We like the Japanese seaweed-based furikake, though Parmesan and oregano work too. Other fritter recipes like to be heavier on the egg; I like less egg and more entangled noodles with more potential to crisp and wild themselves in the frying oil. The fritter lumps are unwieldy but coaxing with a cooking spider (the long handled tool with a mesh basket at the end to scoop up screeching hot food from screeching hot oil) keeps things together fairly well. These are always crowd pleasers for us. Just like Grey Spot.
Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t eat pork … c’mon, think of Grey Spot! Enjoy your turkeys.
Five years ago: ramen with tonkotsu broth and membrillo (quince paste) and braided peach curd bread and ginger frozen custard and peach sauce (or baby food) and strawberry balsamic smash and apricot-earl grey tea pâte de fruit and watermelon soda floats and pasta with fresh tomatoes, dill, and feta
- cooked spaghetti, dried out a bit in the fridge
- egg(s), whisked (approx 1 egg per 8 ounces cooked spaghetti)
- 1 teaspoon salt, and more for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (NOT garlic salt)
- frying oil, about 2-3 cups depending on the size of your pot
- furikake, for dusting
- Mix cooked spaghetti, egg(s), salt, and garlic in a bowl. You can clip the noodle lengths down a bit to make it easier to form the slippery patties of noodle and egg goo. I make them about the size of a small fist.
- Heat oil and test before adding first fritter. Make sure the oil bubbles when a small bit of test noodle is added.
- Drop in two fritters and watch carefully as one side browns, about 3 minutes depending on size. Flip to brown other side. Don't add too many fritters in a at the same time as the oil temperature will cool too much and affect the cooking.
- Drain on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt immediately after removing from oil. Sprinkle with furikake and serve right away.