Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dem Bones

The other day I was walking through our local Ray's Food Place and discovered this:

All I could think was, "too cool!" I could roast my own marrow bones. Yes! My fantasy is to make them taste like the roasted marrow I had at Restaurant 301 for our anniversary a couple of years ago. I've loved marrow since I was a child, and my father and I would fight over the marrow in the bone on the round steaks mom would cook up about 3 nights a week, or so it seemed. The roasted marrow at 301 brought back a lot of childhood memories. The chef took this way beyond that little bit of round steak marrow though. The texture was buttery and a great contrast to the crunchy toast it was meant to be spread on, and the flavor was simple and smoky. It was paired with a dry rose, which was perfect with the smoky flavor.

But, having never cooked marrow bones before, I wasn't sure what to do. In searching for a recipe I discovered that Anthony Bourdain's death row meal would be Fergus Henderson's roasted marrow and parsley salad. ( He likes to play this game where he asks you what your death row meal would be). Well I just happened to find that very recipe on line.

So here is Fergus Henderson's recipe, and I hope I can make it good enough to be worth declaring as a death row meal

* 12 x 7-8cm pieces of middle veal marrowbone a healthy bunch of flat-leaf parsley, picked from its stems
* 2 shallots, peeled and very thinly sliced
* 1 modest handful of capers (extra-fine if possible)


* juice of one lemon
* extra virgin olive oil
* a pinch of sea salt and pepper
* a good supply of toast
* coarse sea salt


Put the bone marrow in an ovenproof frying pan and place in a hot oven. The roasting process should take about 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bone. You are looking for the marrow to be loose and giving, but not melted away, which it will do if left too long (traditionally, the ends would be covered to prevent any seepage, but I like the colouring and crispness at the end).

Meanwhile, lightly chop your parsley, just enough to discipline it, mix it with the shallots and capers, and at the last moment, dress.

Here is a dish that should not be completely seasoned before leaving the kitchen ... A last-minute seasoning ... by the actual eater ... especially in the case of coarse sea salt, gives texture and uplift at the moment of eating. My approach is to scrape the marrow from the bone on to the toast and season with coarse sea salt. Then a pinch of parsley salad on top of this and eat. Of course, once you have your pile of bones, salad, toast and salt, it is "liberty hall".

Serves: 4

This recipe is taken from Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson. Published by Bloomsbury and distributed in Australia by Allen & Unwin. $45 (HB).

And hopefully it will taste as good as this looks:

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