It is not always possible to look the victim in the face, and thank him for the sacrifice; pluck the ears, and play with them; cut off the nose and remove the tongue and brain. I’m not Hannibal Lecter, but I’ve eaten a head and I’m happy.

It weighed about 800 grams, it had been candied in sunflower oil at 90º for 12 hours, left to rest for a day and fried for about five minutes.

The extraordinary head of suckling pig from La Tasqueríain Madrid, where Javier Estevez and his team, with Nola Fernandez as head chef, she makes the smartest use of offal I know of. Intelligent, I mean: we are talking about heads and brains. Giving up this restaurant because it specializes in interiors is like refusing an oil painting because it smells like paint.

I’ll come back to the overwhelming headliner later, but now I want to stop for a moment at a outfit that could cook in a restaurant by finolis and that no fear of the viscera should miss: stuffed baby squid with ridge stew, ink sauce and puffed rice.

I bet a kidney to that, if the diner is not informed beforehand of the content, he will be unable to detect the appendage. Prejudices are, too often, sound and visual and cease to be so in silence and when you put them innocently in your mouth.

We allow ourselves to be frightened by the words without testing the content. Loose: “Cresta de gallo” and the daunted tremble; try it and lick your lips with that kind of texture that makes us flexible.

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Javi has a reflection for the fainthearted: “When someone says: ‘I don’t like offal’, I answer: ‘And do you like fuagrás, cheeks or black pudding?’.

In February 2015, he opened La Tasquería – a perfect neologism – “with a credit endorsed by the parents” putting the family economy at risk and trusting in the power of gizzards.

The Michelin gave it the star in the 2019 edition in an unusual risk exercise in the guide, and even more so with a small place, with a pocket kitchen and a tavern atmosphere, some limitations that increase my enthusiasm: the food at La Tasquería has been one of the most satisfying of the year, with the veal liver salad, the pressed ‘cacheira’, cabbage and bean salad; deer tongue in stew or the cheek taco sauced with prawn head.

Oh, and the wines he handles Taty del Rio –the Velo Flor manzanilla from Bodegas Alonso or the albillo real Zephyros 2018 from Daniel Ramos– and the warm, unobtrusive service from Ana Moya.

As a child, Javi was resistant to liver with onions, “because of its iron flavor & rdquor ;, and as a cook, the udder: “It made us a ball. He tasted like cheese & rdquor ;.

He complains about the synonym “dispossession & rdquor; for unfair and he knows that it is “the aspect& rdquor; what accuses the rejection: “The head and the eyes are the most difficult to accept. And the offal is associated with the interior parts, forgetting the exterior parts”. We could be talking about a decoration magazine.

I return to the term ‘dispossession’ as insulting and false: in the restoration, there is such a demand for pig ears that a stock market will soon be needed pigs. “And if I spend ears they take them out of the heads, and I want the whole heads!& rdquor ;, the chef exclaims.

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This is the kingdom of the singular miniature: of tendons (with knives, in a game of similarities), of rabbit kidneys (with butter and mini mushrooms) and marinated duck heart with red pesto. One duck, one tongue, isn’t it a feat to offer a dish of tongues?

My head is shaking off: I study it with the interest of the jíbaro.

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Bronzed, crunchy, I pull on the skin, I meticulously cut the suckling pig apart with my fingers. That’s a finger thing, a finger pastime, a commitment to touch.

I’m not in a hurry, I don’t want to be in a hurry. The concupiscent ears, the tempting nose. And the poor man smiles.


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