It’s Only A Day Away

When at the butcher’s the other day, I also stocked up on some things for pantry and freezer. First off, a big bag of beef knuckles for stock (which have now, along with a bit of lamb stew meat, been transformed from nearly 3 gallons of stock into about 1 cup of utterly sublime demi-glace) and some marrow bones because the kid adores marrow bones. When I mentioned that, the guy who served me asked me how old he is, and did a hilarious double-take when I answered “five.” That’s my boy.

After roasting the knuckles, I put the marrow bones in a dish with a sprinkle of big salt on top and let them go until bubbly and brown. While that was happening, I picked, washed, and dressed an herby salad. Now Fergus Henderson’s epic marrow with parsley salad calls for pretty much all parsley, but I wanted to use what we had–a lot of which are the remnants of last fall’s plantings, and need to get et and pulled so I can get the tomatoes in. As a result, there was parsley, but also chervil, arugula, mustard, mizuna, claytonia, radish, baby lettuces, chives, and oregano, all tossed with a tart, very lemony vinaigrette to really cut the bountiful fat of the marrow.

And toast: there was a little bit of bacon fat left in the skillet from the samples I cooked up for the cheese-making group we hosted earlier in the day (post to follow) so I just plunked some bread down in it and let it get all grilly. I like to leave good fat from breakfast or lunch in the pan on the stove in case it might come in handy for dinner. My wife does not agree that this is an admirable practice. She does, however, eat the result.

And what a result. The key with this is to have all three components. The marrow is so rich, and the salad so cleansing and sharp, and the bread so crunchy and substrate-providing. Spread the marrow with a knife, top with salad, and go to town. It’s humble and luxurious all at once–like most food should be. Milo was so excited about it that he wanted it again in his lunch for school the next day. So I mashed the one remaining hunk of marrow with some olive oil (for fluidity when cold), scallion, caper, and more lemon juice, spread it on a piece of toast, and put it in his snack container. It came back empty.

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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