Halloween might be just around the corner, but this year Dracula is not the only one with an appetite for blood. As tasty as they are taboo, dishes made with blood are becoming all the rage, and could be popping up in a kitchen near you.
It might not be "the new sushi" just yet, but blood has been making a splash in restaurant scenes across the US and Canada. While many find it hard to stomach, others are embracing the trend with open arms and open mouths.
At Buco, an Italian Restaurant in downtown Toronto, chef Rob Gentile has been testing the waters with Torta di Sanguinaccio, a traditional southern Italian pastry made with an unusual custard inside; what's unusual about this custard is that it's a blend of dark chocolate and pigs' blood.
“At first, with the blood tart, people were shocked,” Mr. Gentile said. “They thought we were crazy.” But over time the dish has gained popularity and has earned "gotta try it" status. Due to the unexpected success of the Torta di Sanguinaccio, Gentile has been compelled to experiment with more recipes, and has even added a pasta dish to the menu in which the noodles are roasted in blood.
At Zabb Elee, a charming little Vietnamese restaurant in Manhattan's East Village, they are using the pigs' blood as a thickener for the broth in their noodle soup. But blood is nothing out of the ordinary in Vietnamese cuisine. In fact, most areas of the world consume blood and don't think twice about it. From Scandinavia to South America, blood plays a big part in many popular dishes, helping to give these cuisines their unique tastes.
In the Middle East, however, the consumption of blood remains taboo. Muslims and Jews are among those who will not be dining with Dracula this Halloween. The Jews are strictly forbidden by the teachings of Leviticus 17:11-13: The Koran also forbids the consumption of blood, as well as any part of the pig.
Though blood is nothing new for many chefs around the world, most Americans are still on the fence about it. These recipes might help get you over the fence and back into your kitchen. Happy Halloween.