Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mission: Marrow (Out of Scope)

Four times the marrow

We've heard that bone marrow is God's gift to the serious eater.

We've heard that bone marrow is one of those things that people who like don't talk about... so that there's more marrow for them to eat. (We've also heard this about morels. And macaroni and cheese. But we digress.)

We've heard that bone marrow is, maybe, the apex of richness and decadence.

So when we saw some marrow bones at our friendly butcher, though not an official recipe of The Good Book, we thought we'd give it a try. They were cheap and good looking - a good combination - so we picked them up without much of an idea how to prepare them, much less consume them. But what the hell! Might as well! So we did.

We did a fair amount of research in an effort to find the best way to prepare our four little troopers. Keller was consulted. eGullet was consulted. Fergus Henderson was consulted. Various other Printed Authorities were consulted. And in the end we decided that a simple roast in the 400 degree range would do the trick. So we stuck those suckers in there and hoped for the best.

Some minutes later we plated our four amigos, garnished with some chopped parsley and lemon juice and served with some home-made rosemary herbs de Provence salt:

Rosemary salt and marrow

Then we passed the plate around, removed the marrow from the bone, spread it on some crusty bread, and there it was.

And it was... rich. Like foie gras, but more so. It was pleasing, absolutely, and really very good, but none of us were sure that we could have more than the portion that was available to us (which we believe would be considered a half serving, traditionally). Undoubtedly this is a great food, one that really isn't like anything else, sort of like meat butter. And rich... so rich, as to be nearly overwhelming, such that we were at marrow-pacity when we finished eating it.

After our main meal (lamb confit - which could be termed rich as well!) was done, and our guests had retired, we discussed the dish further and agreed that we weren't sure we'd go out of our way to try it again in the future. As the meat buzz wears off, we then reassessed our position and would like to try it professionally prepared some day. Certainly as the first offal we've prepared for direct consumption it was quite an experience, and one that we were pleased to share with friends.

(Jacob felt some strange hesitation in eating this dish, having lost his father to leukemia about a year ago. But in the end, he ate and did so heartily, sopping up left over juice from his plate with a piece of crusty bread. He went forward because he was quite sure that his father would have appreciated the irony, and even more sure that his father would have snatched the marrow from his plate had he shown any hesitation in eating it whatsoever. Once again food reigns supreme at our house. Gene would be proud.)

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