Sometimes there is just no reason to be extra creative and come up with your own spin on a dish. Sometimes you just have to follow a recipe exactly as it is. Sometimes you have to trust that the least amount of ingredients and cooking time is just right – no need for tweaking or fiddling with. And sometimes, and only sometimes, do you just have to believe the hype.
Last year we had the pleasure of not only eating a delicious, long and leisurely lunch at Fergus Henderson’s offal-favorite restaurant, St. John, but we were lucky to meet Fergus himself (who happened to be relaxing and enjoying a few glasses of champagne at his bar). As you can read (and listen to via podcast) in our earlier post about St. John, I was a bit heady from the vino and my confidence level shot up as I almost gave the man a bear hug for a fabulous dining experience. His signature dish is one that has been copied over and over and over again by some of the greatest chefs – Roasted Bone Marrow with Parsley Salad and Vinaigrette. We’ve eaten it at St. John, we’ve eaten it at Gabriele Hamilton’s NYC eatery, Prune and now we’ve eaten it at Chez We Are Never Full. Many people may wonder what they hype of eaten gelatinous, greasy bone marrow on toast sprinkled with bits of rock or sea salt is all about (sorry, I just salivated as I typed that).
Well, it is fatty, warming, unctuous, rich and as pleasing (to me) as the finest fois gras. It is just f*cking good. Most restaurants that sell Roasted Marrow charge a ridiculous amount – most of these bones cost less than $2 a pound (at least in my parts!). If you can’t find marrow bones (we used beef bones, but veal are very popular as well), talk with your butcher about ordering some. They freeze well and can be used to thicken soups (like our friend Marc did in this traditional soup) and stocks if you prefer not to have them roasted. You can make this at home for an easy and rich starter or pair it with a nice soup for a two-part meal.
We’re not reinventing the wheel here, we’re just paying homage to a fabulous, satisfying and simple dish from a pretty fabulous and simple chef. If you don’t believe us, you can check out our friend Claudia’s post about the same darn thing. We didn’t soak our bones like she did but they still came out perfect.
- 12 3-to-4 inch high calf or beef marrow bones
- a few bunches of fresh, flat-leaf parsley
- 2 shallots, peeled and sliced thin or chopped finely
- 3 or 4 tablespoons of capers
- 1 french baguette, sliced in rounds and grilled or lightly toasted in the oven
- coarse sea salt (like Maldon)
- juice of 1 lemon
- extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of sea salt and pepper
What to do:
- Heat oven to 450 degrees. Add marrowbones (standing up straight) to an oven-proof tray or pan and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Depending on how thick they are, you may want to check them at about 15 minutes to see how the inside looks. You don’t want it to be roasted so much that the marrow is hard, you want it loose and melted-looking, but still slightly firmish.
- While the bones roast, make your parsley salad by lightly chopping the parsley and then tossing it with the shallots, capers and salt and pepper. Toast or grill the bread pieces till they take on some color. After you take the bones out of the oven, toss the salad with the dressing (lemon and olive oil).
- Serve two to three bones per person along with a few pieces of toast, a serving of parsley salad, a knife and a small bowl of salt. Use the knife to take the marrow out of the bones and smear on the toast sprinkling a bit of the sea salt and topping with a bit of parsley salad. Take a bite and have a food orgasm. Serve with a thin and reasonably acidic red wine.