Odds, Bits and Balls

When we’re not working on the farm, we’re usually eating. This is my kind of place.

Calves and cows on pasture

Several times a day we gather around the table, and as you might expect, there is plenty of meat, goat milk, cheese and eggs at every meal. We also eat our fair share of veggies and a wonderful kitchen garden is just beginning to sprout from seed out behind the farm house. Anna does a lot of the cooking, although I’ve jumped in for the occasional meal as do some of the guys on the farm. It’s mostly improvisation using cuts of meat that we didn’t sell at market or use in CSA shares, and the occasional leftover odds and bits from the butcher shop.

The thing I love about this bunch who I now share my days and meals with is that they’ll eat anything. It’s not on account of foodie bravado, just genuine nose-to-tail awareness – certainly we can find a way to use the leftover parts of the animal and make something delicious. The first week on the farm we had a delicious dish of rice with chicken hearts and livers after a day of cutting up whole chickens for CSA shares. The following week we enjoyed pork tongue tacos that were salvaged from the butcher. When braised, then sliced, fried and served in warm, homemade corn tortillas, tongue is truly tasty. This week we took it to a whole new level – a first for everyone around the table – when I made us Rocky Mountain Oysters, aka fried bull testicles.

North Mountain Pastures "Oysters"

The butcher gave us the sack of balls while we were in the shop making sausage last week, and of course the North Mountain Pastures crew was game to see what we could make of them. But a few days later when they were still in the fridge, I realized that none of the guys could bring themselves to actually prepare the testies, and Anna was certainly not jumping at the task. What is a food-loving butcher wanna-be like myself to do but offer to cook them up? And so after a Google search for “how to cook cow balls” and a bit of recipe cross-referencing, I had a plan and I set to work. The following day when I put the plate of crispy fried “oysters” on the table, they were gingerly sampled and then enthusiastically devoured. It certainly didn’t hurt that I battered them with corn meal fried them in lard, but it turns out that bull testicles really do taste good.

Should you find yourself with a spare pair of balls and feel like you’re up for the task, here’s my recipe:

North Mountain Pastures “Oysters”

  • 2 large bull testicles
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1.5 cups masa harina, or fine cornmeal
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cayenne
  • lard or neutral cooking oil (for frying)
  • hot sauce for serving

Split the tough skin-like muscle that surrounds each “oyster” with a sharp knife and peel off.
Soak in a pan of salt water for at least 1 hour, up to overnight and drain.

Slice each oyster into 1/4 inch thick ovals. Combine cornmeal, salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne to taste. Roll each slice into cornmeal mixture, dip into the milk, roll again into flour mixture (repeat the procedure for a thicker crust).

Heat 1″ of fat or oil in a heavy skillet or pot until glistening and fry, turning once, until golden brown – a few minutes in total.

Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Serve with hot sauce sauce if desired.

4 Responses to “Odds, Bits and Balls”

  1. #

    shuhan says:

    that’s really the most intriguing recipe I’ve come across this year, no kidding. bull’s balls. I’m a fan of offal and using cheap, underused cuts, but this is still a first for me. can’t help wondering how they taste, though they do look pretty scrummy to me. it’s my first time at your blog and I really

  2. #

    shuhan says:

    enjoy and admire ho you just dropped everything to go on a culinary road trip, not just on the food fornt, but to meet the producers and faces behind th food we enjoy. I would love to one day be able to do something like that too.

    • #

      Heather says:

      Thanks Shuhan! I appreciate the encouragement. It was a big leap but so far it’s an amazing experience actually being a sustainable food producer.

      The balls were good! The texture was very tender, and the flavor delicate. Battered and golden fried is the way to go.

  3. #

    Daughter Fish says:

    Wow! These are exactly the kinds of posts I want more of!:)

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