Blast from the Past: Scrapple

Many many years ago, when I was but a wee thing growing up in the rolling hills of Pennsyltucky, I used to eat scrapple. This Pennsylvania Dutch creation was a foreign thing to my family (my parents are from Connecticut and my mom, who does a vast majority of the cooking, is of Sicilian stock), but we often had lots of it, generously given to us by my dad's parishioners. My mom would broil thin slices of the stuff until crisp, and I would grab the honey bear and drizzle some sticky goodness all over it. I loved the salty sweet crunchiness, and was happy to dig in.

Then, when I was 12 or so, I found out what was in it. To put it nicely, scrapple is made from leftover pork bits, plus a little filler. The childhood me immediately conjured up images of puréed eyeballs and bones and the like, so Scrapple landed on my "absolutely will not eat" list.

I've been wanting to try scrapple again, but it hasn't been on the priority list during my not-so-frequent family visits. So, when I spied it on a list of offerings at the Union Square Greenmarket, I bought a pound.

My broiler is kind of a pain in the ass (tucked away at the bottom of my tiny oven), so I decided to grab my good ol' cast iron skillet to cook some up (which is, I believe, the traditional method). I cut a few thin slices from the block--thinner than the suggested 1/4 inch--and sautéed them over medium-low heat until both sides were brown and crisp. I drizzled a tiny bit of honey on each slice, and then revisited a long-lost taste memory.

Scrapple's actually pretty good. On its own, it's not so interesting, but adding a little something sweet brings out the flavors of the added spices--especially the black pepper. So, as I say to others when discussing the Scottish traditional Haggis (which is much weirder, given the cooking method), don't be afraid and give it a try!

1 comment:

The Cookbook Junkie said...

I've lived in PA my entire life and I've yet to try Scrapple. It's really more popular in central PA (where I am now) than NE PA or Philly (where I spent the majority of my life). I'm willing, I've just never done it. I should take the boys to Denny's Lennies for breakfast this weekend. I bet I can find scrapple there.