Culinary SOS: Purple Pig’s pig ears with kale

Fried pig ears and crispy kale are topped with a fried egg at the Purple Pig. Recipe
Fried pig ears and crispy kale are topped with a fried egg at the Purple Pig. Recipe
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Times

Dear SOS: We’ve just returned from a trip to Chicago, and I tell you, we were there for just five days, but we were at the Purple Pig three times. My fave is their fried pig’s ears with crispy kale. What an amazing dish! Can you see if they are willing to share their recipe with your readers? Appreciate it very much.

Mary Anne Hernandez

Vancouver, Canada

Dear Mary Anne: Crisp, crunchy and unabashedly pork-a-licious, your unsuspecting friends might never guess they were actually eating deep-fried pig ears unless you told them. Sliced thin and breaded before frying, these bits of pork goodness are served with torn, fried kale and pickled cherry peppers. The dish is topped with a fried egg. Whether you’re thinking breakfast or dinner or some snack in between — or maybe looking for the perfectFather’s Day dish for the dad who loves all things pork? — this dish is heaven on a plate.


Total time: 50 minutes, plus 3 hours simmering time and overnight chilling

Servings: 6 to 8

Note: Adapted from the Purple Pig in Chicago. Pig ears can be found at Chinese and select Asian markets, and can be ordered from most butchers and meat departments.

1 pound pig ears (about 2 ears)

4 gallons water, divided

1 cup diced carrot

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced onion


1 cup milk

1 cup instant flour, such as Wondra

Frying oil



1 bunch kale (about 10 ounces), torn into 2-inch pieces

6 to 8 pickled cherry peppers, julienned

6 to 8 fried eggs

1 to 2 tablespoons oil



1. In a medium pot, cover the pig ears with 2 gallons of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Strain and return the pig ears to the pot. Cover with another 2 gallons of water and add the carrot, celery and onion. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook, loosely covered, for 3 hours.

2. Strain the pig ears and place on a baking dish. Refrigerate for several hours, preferably overnight, flipping the ears mid-way to make sure both sides are dry.

3. Fill a wide, heavy-bottomed pot with oil until it comes up the sides of the pot by 3 inches. Heat the oil until a thermometer reads 350 degrees.


4. While the oil is heating, thinly julienne the pig ears and dip them in milk, then dredge in the instant flour. Fry the strips in small batches until lightly golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes, then strain, pat dry and place in a large bowl. Fry the kale until bright and crisp, about 30 seconds. Strain and gently toss into the bowl along with the julienned peppers. Season with 2 teaspoons of salt, or to taste. Hold in a warm place.

5. In a shallow frying pan, fry the eggs in a light film of oil until the whites are cooked but the yolk is still runny, about 3 minutes.

5. Divide the pig ears among 6 to 8 shallow bowls, and top each with a fried egg. Season the eggs with a sprinkling each of salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Each of 8 servings: 436 calories; 23 grams protein; 18 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 31 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 236 mg cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 979 mg sodium.