Chef April Bloomfield appears on the cover of her new cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig, glowing in her neat chef's whites, with a dead pig slung over her shoulders.
"I adore pigs, and I love eating them and cooking them, and I love using the whole animal," Bloomfield tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer. There are all kinds of recipes in her cookbook, for salads and baked goods ... but meat takes center stage.
"I love it — in moderation. You know, I'm not the type of person to eat big hunks of meat. I think people are starting to realize that great things come in small batches," she says — and she adds that her titanic 4-pound rib-eye steak recipe, for example, is meant to feed as many as four people.
"I like cooking the biggest steaks. It cooks nice and evenly when it's that thick, and you're not eating the whole thing yourself, which is nice. You get to share that with a companion," Bloomfield says.
The book also features plenty of spicy sauces to go with the big hunks of meat. For beef, she recommends an Argentine sauce called chimichurri. "It's got chopped habaneros, which are nice and spicy, which kind of cut through the fat of the rib-eye."
The star recipe in A Girl and Her Pig is, of course, an entire suckling pig. "That's a real simple recipe," Bloomfield says. "That's basically just seasoned an hour in advance and then thrown into a hot oven ... and then you can just leave it, and it kind of tends to itself ... so when it actually comes out of the oven it's all crisp and steaming, and it fills your house or your apartment with this delicious, sweet, porky aroma."
Bloomfield really does use the whole animal — and not just in the form of a suckling pig. One part of the book is called "The Not-So-Nasty Bits," which exemplifies her nose-to-tail philosophy, though it's not for readers who shy away from the idea of eating ears.
"I love anything crispy so, you know, it's very natural for me to have crispy pigs ears," she says. "It's basically like a big, crispy, sticky pork scratching, really." Bloomfield serves the fried ears on a salad of bitter greens with a lemon and caper dressing. "It sounds heavy, but when you eat it, it kind of refreshes your palate."
Liver is another of Bloomfield's favorites. "I love the smell of frying liver," she says. "It kind of releases a sweetness into the air, and it kind of prickles your nose, and it kind of makes you awake ... it gets me excited," she laughs.