The objective was to create a snack with the texture of a pork rind, but the flavour of pepperoni. The parametric recipe in Modernist Cuisine for puffed snacks, with some minor tweaks, seemed like the way to go.
Pepperoni puffed snacks, v. 1
- 65 g dry-cured pepperoni
- 160 g water
- 200 g tapioca starch
- 2.5 g salt
Blend the pepperoni in a food processor, adding water as needed to create a paste. Add the tapioca starch, salt, and remaining water, and blend until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous, and more or less has the texture of Oobleck. Working in batches, spread out on plastic wrap. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap and roll thin, about 2 mm. Steam for 10-13 minutes. Dehydrate until fully dried, with only a slight amount of flexibility. Break into pieces and fry at 375°F until fully puffed and cooked, about 20 to 30 seconds.
I added more water than the parametric recipe called for in order to achieve the right texture, because the dry-cured pepperoni had less water content than the “meat” called for in the recipe. A better approach would be to back off some of the tapioca starch; adding more starch and more water simply muted the flavour of the pepperoni.