HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tyler Florence's California Osso Buco with a Classic Gremolata



         When I started cooking Osso Buco, it was a sumptuous meal on a beer budget.  The Veal Shanks at the center of the dish were afterthoughts at the butcher’s counter.  It’s hard to imagine but I think they ran about $4.99 a lb. at most.  Andrew is fond of pointing out that I have no concept of how many years ago that was and that in 25 years almost everything is more expensive. But, like fresh tuna, which at one point was practically given away, the huge popularity of this Italian masterpiece has upped its price mightily.   Osso Buco means ‘bone with a hole in it’ and it’s gotten to be a very expensive bone.  But it’s a triumph of taste—the meat is tender to the bone, the sauce is filled with fresh vegetables stewed to perfection in red wine and tomatoes—even the marrow in the center of the bone is a guilty pleasure.   The recipe hails from Lombardy, the region that’s home to Milano, where it is classically served atop risotto.  Since risotto needs constant attention until the minute it is served, I use mashed potatoes instead.  Because I find Osso Buco is one of the greatest ideas for weeknight dinner parties.  We were entertaining my nephew, Michael and his wife, Valery who were here from Canada.   Leaving out the risotto meant I could spend all the time I wanted with them and then take all of about 5 minutes to mash the potatoes.   Like so many other braised dishes, this one too improves considerably when left a day or three in the fridge.  So it’s perfect to make over on a Sunday afternoon to serve later in the week.  I’ve published a recipe for Osso Buco before. So why is this one here?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Garlic Shrimp and Cannellini Beans adapted from Bon Appetit


         This is a one-pan wonder that comes together completely in just 30 minutes.  And in that time, Cannellini beans take on the rich flavor of a tomato sauce enriched with chiles and a single bay leaf.  There’s nothing bland about these beans! Then they’re topped with big beautiful shrimp that have been tossed in garlic and smoked paprika and broiled for 3 minutes.  Grilled bread that’s been rubbed with more garlic is perfect for sopping up the lusciously thick sauce.  The whole dish is an homage to Spanish cooking that couldn’t be simpler to make and yet complex in flavor at the same time. Make it and I can almost guarantee you will make it again and again.
            My experience with Spanish cuisine is limited to making an occasional Paella and even there, without a true Paella pan, I am not sure how authentic my version is.  But I’ve wanted to delve a little deeper ever since I read “Ferran ” (Gotham Books 2011) Colman Andrew’s biography of Ferran Adrià i Acosta who is, arguably, the best chef in the world. And who wouldn't be intrigued by a subhead  that read "The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man who Re-invented Food". From his out-of-the-way El Bulli restaurant in Roses on the Costa Brava, the chef has drawn gastronomes from every corner of the world.   Now shuttered while he decides what his next step will be, the chef’s most famous contributions to cuisine will never be the province of the home cook.  Adria is most associated with "molecular gastronomy”, which is that particular style of cooking obsessed with its science and how food is chemically changed during 
the cooking process.  Despite his reputation for being one of its foremost practitioners, the Chef himself doesn’t consider his cooking to fit in that category.  Instead, he is quoted as saying that his goal is "to provide unexpected contrasts of flavour, temperature and texture. Nothing is what it    seems. The idea is to provoke, surprise and delight the diner."  I won’t, for one minute, claim that this incredibly simple Garlic Shrimp with White Beans comes anywhere near the complexity of a Ferran dish.  But I think you will agree that this thirty minute entrée will “provoke, surprise and delight” you.