Friday, February 5, 2010

What's the marrow with you?

What could be better than slowly braised meat? Slowly braised meat with MARROW!

Okay, okay, I admit that marrow is a frightening thing. There's something too primal, too intimate about it. Eating marrow seems like a violation. (If you read Julie/Julia, the description of extracting the marrow was absolutely chilling.) That being said, so many chefs go gaga over that bone-covered goo--what don't I know?

We found beef shank slices at the store and realized immediately this was an opportunity. As I don't eat veal, osso bucco never much crossed my mind. It was Darling Husband who noticed the potential to try this classic dish. Basically, osso bucco is a slice of veal shank, bone and all, slowly braised in white wine with mirepoix and a bit of tomato product. We used pino grigio, a dollop of tomato paste and pre-cut mirepoix (which I first browned to a henna-hued perfection in the dutch oven).

Osso bucco is served traditionally over risotto, and who am I to argue with tradition? It makes for an unspeakably rich and sinful tasting food, which is fine by me. The sauce was thick like gravy, saturated with flavor. The meat fell off the bone. We couldn't help but notice the marrow in the bone was reduced. Presumably some cooked out.

When asked for their favorite dish (or "last meal" type question), according to Anthony Bourdain, many chefs come up with pretty simple fare. Marrow on bread with a bit of sea salt is, so he says, at the top of that list. I can't comment on that specifically, but Darling Husband and I were brave enough to try a taste of the marrow on it's own. It's a bit... spongy... but not in a solid way. It's very meaty but almost...metallic? Well, truth be told, it was hard for me to identify. That being said, I enjoyed it. I just didn't want any more of it. It was a little too much Night-of-the-Living-Dead for me. But I believe I'm missing something awesome.

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