Roasted bone marrow with parsley salad

Fergus Henderson, of St. John Restaurant is known for cooking unusual cuts and parts of meats; I wouldn't know if he's all that well known to the average eater, but he's something of a hero among chefs, who speak of his cooking with almost Messianic fervor.

Tony Bourdain at one point declared that Henderson's Bone Marrow with Parsley Salad will be his Death Row meal--meaning, I suppose, that if he's ever electrocuted for his sins, this would be his Last Request. The funny thing is, it's so damned simple, I couldn't resist trying out the recipe...

So: lay five three beef soup bones per person (Henderson specified veal bones, but I went with what I had in the freezer) at least three inches long with a thick core of marrow in a roasting pan. Into a 450 degree oven for broiling for thirty minutes (just keep checking after twenty--if you're not careful, the marrow will melt away).

Meantime, rough chop a bunch of Italian parsley; toss in capers, and two shallots, minced. At the twenty-minute mark (of the bones roasting), season salad with sea salt, fresh-ground pepper, two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, and the juice of one lemon.

When the bones are ready, stand 'em up on a plate, lay three slices of toasted bread (I used Italian) to one side, a ramekin of sea salt to the other, and a little mound of parsley salad at the center. When you've wowed your diners with the little presentation, fall to with mucho gusto.

Henderson recommended spreading the marrow over the toast, sprinkling it with salt and topping it with parsley salad; I'm a slow eater, so I contented myself with poking the marrow out with a chopstick, putting a chunk on one end of a toast, salting it, then chasing the bite down with a pinch of salad (forgot all about the forks and spoons).

The salt rocks grind against the teeth and go off like tiny brine fireworks in your mouth; the marrow melts slowly all over the tongue, like the richest butter in the world with a strong roasted-beef flavor, on hot crisp toast. Italian parsley is an intensely flavored herb that, combined with lemon's tartness, is an industrial-strength astringent, but in this case it's barely enough to cut through the marrow's richness, and is a perfect complement.

Goes well with an ice-cold glass of ginger ale.

Bourdain can go stuff it; after a meal like that, I'd rip the prison bars from their sockets and sailout in the wild blue yonder. Maybe find a little corner of woods somewhere, lie down on the soft grass, and have a quiet cholesterol heart attack--dying with a huge grin on my face.  

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