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Small Brewpub Chef Misti Norris Makes a Dish Many Dallas Chefs Won't: Feet

If you're an Instagram user and a food fan you should pull up @mistinorris90 for a whole new sort of feed. The chef at Small Brewpub may not capture the most beautiful imagery (I can relate), but nearly everything Misti Norris posts to her account is interesting.

Catch a glimpse of the pancetta she's been aging for eons, or the murky vinegar made from pink lady apples in a large glass jar. You can check out Misti's coppa that you'll find on her charcuterie board, or her pet cat or snake. (Yes, it's her personal account.) And if you spend enough time poking around you might uncover the young chef's obsession with feet.

Norris is dropping dishes that most chefs in Dallas wouldn't even dream of serving. The picture above is of pork trotters that have had most of their bones removed and replaced with fennel sausage. The feet are smoked, cooked sous vide for hours, and then fried in a pan so the skin gets good and crispy.

Still, trotters are hardly new; we recently wrote about another take on this dish thats in the works at Meddlesome Moth. However, chicken feet are entirely new to diners south of 635.

You'll find chicken feet at many Chinese restaurants, like the ones in Richardson. They're mainly braised until soft and then you do your best to chew up tiny bits of cartilage and fat while working around the tiny bones. The process is the same for eating Norris' chicken feet, but she puts a lot more thought into how they're prepared.

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"They're cured for three days in a brine solution, and then we put them in olive oil with garlic," Norris says. The submerged feet are then cooked low and slow like a confit, before they're set out to dry overnight. The last step gives them that puffy look you see in the picture, which is achieved with a deep frier set to stupid-hot. Just seconds in the oil and you've got one of the craziest bar snacks served in Dallas right now.

The menu at Small is loaded with more approachable bites (the charcuterie board for instance) but Norris is showing a willingness to push the envelope to find out just how far Dallasites will go to enjoy their dinner. So far it's working. Customers at Small are buying up the plates, and the trotters have sold out on occasion. "I feel like we're in a really good area," Norris says of her Oak Cliff neighborhood. And Oak Cliff looks set for some really good food.

Small Brewpub, 333 W. Jefferson Blvd., smallbrewpub.com

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