Last August (2015), I shared Maine Mahogany Clams Summer Stew with Corn, Fingerling Potatoes recipe from New England Open House Cookbook (Workman Publishing, June 2015) by Sarah Leah Chase.
Today it's all in the bones with Roasted Marrow Bones with Small Herb Salad recipe that pairs well with Au Bon Climat La Bauge Au-dessus Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley according to author who used the combination at Nantucket Wine Festival. The festival 2016 edition takes place from May 18 to May 22.
Roasted Marrow Bones with a Small Herb Salad
One bleak winter day when I was perusing the rather barren and uninspiring aisles of a local supermarket, I came across some packages of caveman-like marrow bones at dirt-cheap prices in the meat section. I was ecstatic because on a trip to Boston I had recently dined on fabulous marrow bones at the Eastern Standard restaurant in the always welcoming Hotel Commonwealth. I immediately snatched up the packages and set to figuring out how best to prepare them as an unexpected dinner treat. I was so thrilled with the results that I ended up preparing the same recipe for 125 people when the Nantucket Wine Festival invited me to come up with a dish to pair with Au Bon Climat’s 2006 La Bauge Au-dessus Pinot Noir at their annual May tasting event. The prep kitchen for the wine tasting was not on the premises and transporting huge and heavy roasting pans filled with the marrow bones on foot over Nantucket’s one-way lanes to the site was not an undertaking I would wish to repeat.
Suffice it to say, I have since stuck to roasting smaller batches of marrow bones in the cozy familiarity of my own kitchen. I can happily make a decadent dinner out of two or three roasted marrow bones served with a small but invigorating herb and caper salad, a combination inspired by British chef Fergus Henderson. Otherwise, I serve a single marrow bone as an appetizer with a glass of excellent pinot noir to friends adventuresome enough to appreciate it. Serves 8 as an appetizer or 3 or 4 as an unconventional but great dinner
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
8 center-cut beef marrow bones (each 2½ to 3 inches tall; about 4 pounds total weight)
3½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Crunchy sea salt, such as fleur de sel and freshly cracked black peppercorns
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 ounces (about 1 cup) fresh pea shoots (optional but a great addition when available)
1 tablespoon brine-packed capers, drained
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 slices (½ inch thick) crusty bread, such as ciabatta, toasted
- Place the shallots in a bowl of ice water and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes to soften the sharpness of their raw flavor.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F, preferably an oven with a convection setting. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Place the marrow bones in a mixing bowl, drizzle 11/2 tablespoons of olive oil over them, and then toss to coat them lightly all over. Season the marrow bones all over with crunchy salt and cracked peppercorns. Arrange the marrow bones, marrow-side-up, on the prepared baking sheet. Roast the marrow bones until the marrow is soft and light golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Take care not to roast the bones too long or the marrow will begin to bubble out of the bones like lava from a volcano
- While the marrow bones are roasting, prepare the herb and caper salad: Drain the shallots and pat them dry with paper towels. Place the shallots in a salad bowl, add the parsley, cilantro, pea shoots, if using, and capers and toss to mix. Just before serving, toss the salad with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the lemon juice and season it with flaky sea salt to taste.
- To serve, scatter a bit of the salad over each of 8 salad plates or 3 or 4 larger plates if you are serving the marrow bones as a main course. Center 1, 2, or 3 roasted marrow bones on top. Scatter more salad over the marrow bones and place 1 or 2 pieces of toast and a scant 1/2-teaspoon mound of crunchy salt on the edge of each plate. To savor, scoop out the marrow with a small spoon or palette knife and spread it on the toast. Season the marrow with a bit of the sea salt and top it with some of the herb salad. Enjoy immediately.
(* From New England Open-House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase-Workman Publishing- June 2015)