Sierra Nevada Oysters

This is a polarizing issue akin to politics or religion and I wouldn’t bring it up at the dinner table. That just wouldn’t be polite. Reproductive health is taboo enough, but how about reproductive organs? I consider myself to be a pretty adventurous eater and even I was on the fence about whether to follow through with this food experiment. I had saved the testicles from the last pig that I had helped to butcher this past winter. At the time, I didn’t tell too many people what I had done. I had tried to broach the subject with a few of my close friends but most of them were clearly in the “disgusting, weird, don’t want to talk about it” camp. There had to be some people out there on the side of “delicacy, fun/novel food, open-minded” didn’t there? I wasn’t wedded to one point of view, but I had to admit that eating them did seem like a bad idea. I was not quite sure what I was going to do with them. For some reason, though, I was intrigued enough to put them in my freezer for a later date.

That was three month ago. I just couldn’t bring myself to throw them away and I had this inkling that at some point my curiousity would lead me to a preparation similar to rocky mountain oysters (traditionally made with cow testicles, I believe). The decision I was facing, put simply, was whether or not it would be a good idea to eat pig balls. Three months of deliberation had not brought me any closer to a decision. I had done my best to hide them in the corner of the freezer, but through the shuffling of items that often happens in that shared space, they somehow surfaced the other day. My roommates are incredibly tolerant of my weird food preparations, but I cringed to think of this item being thrust into their view while looking for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I had to do something.

Knowing I was too deeply invested in this item to merely toss it in the trash, but not yet committed to the inevitable, I let the pig testes thaw in the refrigerator. That bought me a day to think. I thought about just cooking them by myself and within the privacy of my own kitchen just taking a small taste. That way there would be no witnesses. If the taste was unbearable, I could gag undetected and at least soothe my sunk-cost blind conscience. My ego would not suffer the blow of this failed experiment in front of others. Alas, it felt too sneaky and I couldn’t even bring myself to do that cowardly deed. I needed reinforcements or reassurance or maybe I wanted my friends to talk me out of this terrible idea. No such luck. My friends were willing spectators and being familiar with my stubborn demeanor had no intent of discouraging my strange preparation. I showed up at their house with the two testicles and a vague idea of how I was going to go about cooking and ultimately ingesting these things. At this point, there was no backing down. After all, I had a reputation to uphold.

How was I going to make these things resemble food? The first step was to the remove the outer membrane. As it turned out, the package was the biggest issue. Pardon my word choice. This act completely transformed what looked really gross and frankly inedible, into a pretty benign looking piece of meat. Check out the pictures below to see what I mean. The next step was to cut these into 1/4-1/2 inch slices. We dipped each slice into a bowl of beaten eggs and then coated it with a mix of coconut flour, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. The breaded slices sizzled as they fried in hot coconut oil. Through the whole process, my nose strained for a hint of a distinct flavor to anticipate. The kitchen smelled like frying food, nothing more. All together, my brave friends and I tasted the rocky mountain oysters. A moment of silence. Chewing. Swallowing. I”m not sure if the relief was apparent on my face or not. The taste was very mild and gave no indication of the origin of the meat. It merely tasted like a tender piece of meat breaded and fried. We tried them plain and also with hot sauce. I enjoyed the oysters. They were actually quite tasty and I think my friends liked them too. Bet you didn’t know you could find Oysters in the Sierras?!?

Sierra Nevada Oysters

2 pig testicles, (membrane removed and sliced into 1/4″ slices)

2 eggs

1 cup of coconut flour

1 t garlic powder

salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 C coconut oil (for frying)

Hot Sauce (optional)

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