Mighty Meaty

Pig’s brain and eggplant frittata

casaveneracion.com tortang utak ng baboy (pig's brain and eggplant frittata)This is a combination of two popular Filipino dishes–tortang utak (pig’s brain omelet) and tortang talong (eggplant omelet). To cook this dish, diced pig’s brain, garlic, onions, carrots and chooped fresh parsley are blended with beaten eggs, stuffed into boiled and peeled whole eggplants and pan-fried. There are several versions of tortang talong. The most common is to dip the flattened eggplants in a mixture of flour and eggs and fry them. That’s the plain version. Another one uses ground pork to stuff the eggplants. This is the most popular version. I used to cook this version with a little twist. I would place a few slices of cheese on the eggplant before filling it with the pork mixture. A trick I learned from Sandy Daza in his TV cooking show.

Traditionally, tortang utak is cooked this way: the brains are boil and split in half, like splitting a bun. They are dipped in beaten eggs and fried. That was the way both my father and my mom-in-law did it. The first time I served tortang utak to my kids, the brain was mashed and thoroughly blended with the beaten eggs. I was careful not to let them see the brains before they were safely mixed with the eggs. That way, they were not prejudiced even before they could try the cooked dish. They enjoyed it tremendously.

This recipe is a combination of those two popular Filipino dishes. When I thought about cooking tortang talong with pig’s brains, there was no more need to mash the brains because I knew that the kids were no longer afraid of eating them. As I expected, they enjoyed the tortang talong with pig’s brain just as much as they did the tortang utak.

There are several ways of cooking the eggplants before stuffing them. They can be boiled in a little water, steamed or even grilled. There won’t be any difference in the flavor of the cook dish whether they are boiled or steamed. However, if the eggplants are grilled over live coals, then the cooked dish will retain a distinct smoky flavor.

Ingredients :

3 pcs. of pig’s brain
4 eggplants
1 tsp. of minced garlic
1 onion
1/2 carrot
2 eggs
1 tsp. of finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
1/2 c. of cooking oil

Cooking procedure :

Wash the pig’s brains well. With your hands, remove the veins and membranes. Boil in 1/2 c. of salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and cool, preferably in the refrigerator. Cut into small cubes, about 1/4″ x 1/4″ in size.

Boil, steam or grill eggplants until tender but not mushy. Drain and cool. Peel off the skins. Using the back of a fork, flatten the eggplants. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Finely chop onion and carrot. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add cubed pig’s brain, minced garlic, chopped onion, carrot and parsley into the beaten eggs. Blend well.

Spoon egg mixture into the flattened eggplants. Pat and smoothen the top.

Heat a large skillet. Pour in cooking oil. Heat until it starts to smoke. Carefully slide the stuffed eggplants onto the hot oil. Cook over high heat until the underside browns, about 5 minutes. Flip the eggplants over with a turner or spatula. Cook until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

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