I just realized that within the past 3 weeks I had the pleasure of indulging in veal, beef and lamb bone marrow. What a treat and how lucky am I?! It’s truly one of my favorite things to nibble on with a nice glass of wine.
It started off 3 weeks ago when I was invited to my friend’s house to have some home cooked braised lamb shanks. Of course I wouldn’t turn down such an offer, so I went over with a bottle of Paso Robles Syrah simply excited for a lamb shank. Well, holy cow! Oops, I meant, holy lamb! Kyle, you sure know how to please a woman (in this case, 3 women at once. What a stud!)
These red wine braised lamb shanks were so tender, the meat fell right off the bones. He accompanied them with garlic and rosemary roasted fingerling potatoes, oven roasted garlic bulbs, cipollini onions with a balsamic reduction glaze, sauteed greens, and a tangy parsley gremolata.
After I cleaned my plate and stripped the lamb shank down to the bare bone, Kyle sensed my next move and provided me with long thin crab picks. Since lamb shank bones are very thin and long, this apparatus was perfect for scooping out all of the bone marrow. I spread a clove of tender roasted garlic onto a toasted baguette, and placed the lamb bone marrow on top. Voila, I was in heaven. Lamb marrow is dark, with a dense and rich flavor. It was also nicely flavored with the red wine braise and made for a wonderful treat.
A week and a half later I was in Cambria doing the same thing with a large piece of veal osso bucco. This was at a restaurant called Madeline’s, which is a small and quaint restaurant inside of the Cambria Wine Shop. Veal shank is obviously larger, so the dish came with a small spoon ready to scoop out the marrow.
I had my veal with another glass of local Paso Robles syrah. What a coincidence…
And of course we savored the rich veal bone marrow on a piece of toast.
Sometimes bone marrow can have a bland taste if at all, so it’s best enjoyed from stews such as osso bucco because of the added flavors. I remember making a lot of scraping noises at the table that night, making sure that I got every little last bit of marrow out with my small spoon. Gosh, I can be an embarrassing date.
And finally, the king of all bone marrows, the beef marrow. I went to Father’s Office in Culver City with some great friends a few days ago.
The night started off with orders of pommes frites and beet salad, both absolutely delicious. The red beets here were so sweet and juicy. After 2 wonderful bottles of Spanish red wines (I really liked the 2001 Ribera del Duero Fuentespina) and midway into a carafe, I started craving….marrow. I could feel it in my….bones.
Oh gosh…this was really good. This was simple straight forward beef bone marrow, roasted to perfection in the nude, so it looked gelatinous, bouncy and barely opaque. The baguette was toasted just right, the marrow was rich and fatty but not too heavy, and the parsley and caper topping added that perfect amount of freshness, bitterness, acidity, and saltiness to complement it all. I thought my friends would go ga-ga over this dish, but they weren’t as excited as I was. Which worked to my advantage, because I got to eat most of it.
Another great place to have roasted beef marrow is Mozza. They do it well too.
I love the fact that such a simple yet mind blowingly rich and delicious snack can be made from animals parts that would normally be thrown away. Same goes for other organ meats. They are so nutritious (okay, fatty too) and rich in flavor. Most humans are only interested in the lean muscle meats, but the organs and innards are where the money’s at. All other animals seem to know that. When lions and tigers eat their prey, they primarily eat the innards, and don’t waste their time picking at the lean cuts. I think I know what I was in a previous life…
Random trivia: Did you know that in 1983 the world’s first animal bone marrow transplant was done on Miki, a lilac-point Siamese cat, to correct a rare genetic disease called Mucopolysaccharidosis VI?