Before opening his hip neighborhood restaurant and watering hole, Jamie DeRosa learned his craft from years of working with legendary California chefs Wolfgang Puck, Mark Peel and Joachim Splichal. He also worked overseas at The Fat Duck in London and in Beijing. Back in the states, he did stints with two other legends—Allen Susser and Geoffrey Zakarian.

To prepare the menu for Tongue & Cheek, he went on a 12-state food crawl with his wife Amy and newborn daughter, Isabela Grace. While traveling throughout the South, specifically in Georgia, DeRosa was inspired by much of the comfort food he found there, particularly some of its fried items.

“For this signature recipe, I fried the pig ears, which gives them a really nice crunchy texture. I also loved the creamy pimento cheese, which is a Southern favorite, and it inspired me to add pickled vegetables and peanuts to create a dish with bold flavors and a cool combination of textures.”

Crispy Pig Ear Lettuce Wraps

From Jamie DeRosa, Tongue & Cheek, Miami Beach. Yields 12 lettuce wraps.

Ingredients:
1 lb. pig ears
6 oranges, cut in half
6 cups chicken stock
1 bunch thyme
3 lemons, cut in half
6 garlic cloves
3 shallots
10 peppercorns
vegetable oil for frying

Garnish:
1 head bibb lettuce
3 spring onion whites, julienne
orange segments cut into bite size pieces
zest of 3 oranges
1 Tbsp. unskinned peanuts
1 tsp. chives, brunoise

Method:
Brine the pig ears for 24 hours in poultry brine; then rinse. Thoroughly simmer the ears with oranges, chicken stock, thyme, lemons, garlic cloves, shallots and peppercorns for 4-6 hours or until tender. Dry.

Fry the ears at 350F° for 5 minutes or until they float and are crispy.

Toss the pig ears with orange segments and place in Bibb lettuce leaves. Place chives, onions and peanuts on top.