My favorite cooking method had always been roasting. The process is simple: get as much flavor as you can into a pot or onto a roasting pan and heat it for a long time. Little effort is required, just herculean patience. The result is almost without-fail, incredible. The sugars, fats, flavors, basically all the good stuff, floats to the surface and is cause for celebration. My favourite thing to roast is beets, closely followed by Brussels sprouts. I haven’t had much experience roasting meat, as I have little patience. However, I do love Osso Bucco and was willing to wait the two hours. Plus, while two hours might seem like an eternity in the kitchen, it’s really not. If you time it right (don’t worry, I’ll explain below), an incredibly impressive meal can be had with ease. Leaving you time to sip the rest of the wine.
This meal is a stunner. Really, it is. The complex flavors of the curry-tinged meat go beautifully with a simple polenta. The fried artichokes and lemon burst with lemony goodness and you really can’t go wrong with breaded and fried artichokes. And the Sicilian orange salad is just sweet and fresh enough to balance the richness of the meat. This meal is a perfect transition from Winter to Spring.
I found the recipe for Osso Bucco on Tastespotting (addicting food porn if you’re unaware) and something about it appealed to me. Perhaps it was the literary twisted food blog name, “Crepes of Wrath,” which should have been on my literary food blog list I never submitted to McSweeney’s. The full recipe can be found here, but below you will find a slightly simplified version.
Osso Buco with Thai Red Curry Paste and Red Wine
Based on this recipe from Crepes of Wrath
Makes 2 servings, takes about 2 hours.
You will need:
2 large veal shanks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon red curry paste (I used Thai curry paste)
1 cup good red wine (I used Cabernet)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Pat the shanks dry with a paper towel and coat generously in salt and pepper. Then, using your fingers, slather with Dijon mustard and dredge in flour. Let them rest.
2. In a deep Le Cruset (or similar brightly colored expensive ceramic pot) pan with a lid, add the butter over medium-high heat. Brown the shanks for three minutes on each side. Don’t disturb them while they brown, as you want a nice crust. Remove the shanks once they look pretty and transfer to a plate.
3. In the same pan, add another tablespoon of butter. Add in the shallots and carrots and stir for 5 minutes over medium heat, until softened, then add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add in the curry paste, then the wine and stock. Place the meat back in the pan, along with the sprigs of thyme. Place a lid on the pan and place in a 325 degree F oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until tender.
4. Pull it out and let it rest for a little while. Serve with creamy, but not too creamy polenta and don’t forget to suck out the bone marrow.
Once the meat goes in the oven, you are free to do a little clean up and start the leisurely vegetable portion of the meal.
Fried Artichokes and Lemon
You will need:
1 bag frozen artichoke hearts (Trader Joe’s does this well)
1 large and beautiful lemon sliced VERY thin (seriously…buy the gorgeous organic ones that cost more a dollar each)
Flour for dredging
Olive oil for frying
Salt and pepper
1. Defrost the artichokes by running them under hot water and then dry completely with a paper towel. Maybe do this earlier so they are 100% dry.
2. Slice the lemon into very thin pieces, use a mandolin if you have one.
3. Heat the oil in a large pan and set up a bowl of flour for dredging. Take each individual artichoke and lemon slice and dredge through flour before dropping in the hot oil. Fry in small batches so the artichokes get nice and crispy. Drain on a plate with paper towels and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper and a bit of lemon juice.
Sicilian Orange Salad
This simple salad is tangy and garlicky, best served iced cold.
You will need
1 blood orange or cava cava orange
2 gloves garlic finely minced
2 tbs olive oil
1 pinch coarse sea salt (Maldon is best)
1. Using a small knife, cut the peel away so you are life with only the flesh with no pith. Slice into medallions. Arrange on a plate and coat in the garlic and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.