Crepinettes with Kale and Shallots

December 18, 2014
3 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes 8
Author Notes

Many traditional cuisines use caul fat in a variety of ways: Italians use it to wrap fegatelli, Cypriots use it for sheftalia, the English use it for faggots, the French for pâtés and crepinettes. In the Bordeaux area of Aquitaine, truffled pork crepinettes are served alongside oysters, which may seem like a strange combination, but it works beautifully. The bright brininess of the oysters are a perfect counterpoint to the richness of the fat and truffles. But because black truffles aren’t exactly cheap or easy to come by, today we’re going to make some crepinettes with much more relaxed ingredients. Some wilted greens, browned shallots, and a little nutmeg -- it’s winter wrapped in a tiny, beautiful bundle. Wash them down with a minerally white wine and some plump oysters. —Cara Nicoletti

What You'll Need
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 large handfuls lacinato kale, destemmed and sliced thinly
  • 2 pounds ground pork shoulder
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large piece caul fat, cleaned (about 1/2 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, like vegetable, for cooking
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. In a medium saucepan, sweat the minced shallot in the butter over medium-low heat until it’s soft and translucent -- about 5 minutes. Add the kale and cook, stirring constantly until it’s wilted and soft, about 3 minutes. Place in fridge to cool.
  2. Once the kale and shallots have cooled completely, place them in cheesecloth and gently squeeze any excess liquid from the kale (this is optional, but recommended).
  3. Add shallots and kale to a large mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients (minus the caul fat and vegetable oil). Knead with clean hands for 5 minutes, or until a sample placed on the underside of your palm sticks for a solid 10 seconds.
  4. Shape mixture into 15 to 20 evenly-sized meatballs.
  5. Lay caul fat down on a clean surface and cut out 15 to 20 squares, about 4 inches each. Place meatballs in the squares of caul fat and wrap them gently, making sure the edges are sealed. Gently press down and flatten them into disks.
  6. Heat the vegetable oil in a large oven-safe sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the crepinettes and sear them on one side until browned -- about 2 minutes. Turn over and sear the other side for 2 minutes.
  7. Place pan in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Serve with oysters and wine.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Susan W
    Susan W
  • Cara Nicoletti
    Cara Nicoletti
  • Catherine
Cara Nicoletti is a butcher and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Cara started working in restaurants when she moved to New York in 2004, and was a baker and pastry chef for several years before following in her grandfather and great-grandfathers' footsteps and becoming a butcher. She is the writer behind the literary recipe blog,, and author of Voracious, which will be published by Little, Brown in 2015. She is currently a whole-animal butcher and sausage-making teacher at The Meat Hook in Williamsburg.

4 Reviews

Catherine July 17, 2016
A little discrepancy? Recipe says it makes 8 crepinettes in the very beginning, yet later in recipe you make 15-20 balls. Going to make these tomorrow and I'll just eye ball it since I've eaten my fair share of them.
Susan W. December 19, 2014
I just called my butcher and ordered the caul fat. Funny little story. He knows I follow your column with delight. When I asked him if he could get it for me, he said "what's Cara got up her sleeve today"?

Two questions..the meatballs look like flattened discs which sounds like it would work better than the traditional ball. Also, is it traditional to serve them with raw oysters (yum) or a pan fried oyster (also yum)?
Cara N. December 19, 2014
Susan, you are the best! Who is your butcher in portland? I'm planning a trip there soon and I'd love to go around to some different shops.

You are right about the crepinettes, I'm going to add in that you it's best to gently flatten them out after wrapping them in the caul fat. Raw oysters are traditional, but I bet either way would be delicious!
Susan W. December 22, 2014
These are incredibly good. Had them last night. We do a Seven Fishes feast on Christmas eve and will have them again then with the raw oyster course. Is it weird that I am putting caul fat in my luggage?

My butcher works in the meat dept at New Seasons, but when I picked up my pork and caul fat, I was told he's leaving and going to work at Phil's Meat Market in the Uptown shopping center. Awesome place. Phil's dad started it in 1979. Phil passed away about 4 years ago, but his wife and son run it now. First place to serve bento in Portland. Be sure to go downstairs and peruse the wine cellar. :)

When will you be here? I think you'd enjoy meeting the guys at Fatworks too.