My wife and I recently visited a friend in London. She had an apartment south of the Thames so we spent a lot of time exploring that area. While the churches, cathedrals, theaters, and museums were marvelous, a highlight was a visit to a sprawling food market near Southwark Cathedral. A food market has been at or close to this spot since at least the 13th century. Foods and delicacies from around the world can be found there. As we wandered through, we could samples dozens of meats, cheeses, breads, pastries, and foods from across the Indian sub-continent, Southeast Asia, South America, Europe, and regions of England.
While everything looked incredibly tempting, I joined a long queue to purchase roasted boar meat. As I got closer to the head of the line, I noticed that several customers asked for “crackling”- the crispy skin of the boar. Of course, I had to try this too, as I had just finished reading a book about medieval England and how pork crackling was considered a delicacy. It turns out that in the United States crackling, or roasted animal skin, is becoming increasingly popular.
As reported in Bon Appetit (Test Kitchen: September 24, 2015), several restaurants have begun to serve crispy chicken skin. Some chefs simply crumble the product over salads and other dishes, but many feature the skin by itself as a decadent appetizer. Roasted chicken skin appetizers proved so popular at one area restaurant that a chicken skin shortage developed. As for me, I do not think I will be ordering roasted chicken skin or any other type of crackling any time soon. Pork crackling turns out to be quite thick, very crunchy, and not particularly flavorful. As for chicken skin, it seems best as part of a whole roasted chicken.