Dinner on Saturday night got started very, very late–we ended up getting home three hours later than I expected, and then baked cake, etc, so we started the (braised) meat at about the time I thought we’d be eating, and ate at bedtime. I scaled back the plans because we’d been snacking and it was so late, which means I have a lot of chard that I need to do something with this week. Soup tonight, maybe…
To start we had a salad that Bridge and I always split at Inoteca: Romaine and radicchio in a red wine vinaigrette, topped with a mountain of ricotta salata. It’s so, so simple, but the combo is perfect–the sharp radicchio and vinegar are offset by the mound of cheese, which is salty and perfect. I know my mom has been making this salad ever since we went to Inoteca, and this was the second or third time I made it. (Of course, afterwards all I want to eat is Truffled Egg Toast, it’s Pavlovian.) Try this at home!
For dinner I made a variation on an old Gourmet recipe for cider braised pork with caramelized onions. Whole Foods doesn’t carry pork shoulder, on or off the bone, so I made do with boneless pork butt, which….well, it’s big mess to deal with, I’ll tell you that. It was held together with an elastic net, but I had to take that off to score the fat, and then all the lobes of meat were everywhere and did NOT want to be bound back together with kitchen twine. I got flustered and started browning it 1) before sticking all the slices of garlic in (I did a bit of that while it was in the pan, an ouchy process that Bridge watched with trepidation), 2) WITHOUT SEASONING IT. That’s right, I completely forgot to salt and pepper the meat before cooking it. Brilliant. Somehow I don’t have any photos except of the finished process, but basically I browned the meat, pulled it out, caramelized the onions, added the cider in, put the meat back, and braised for a while in the oven. About 45 minutes before it was done (the time was all weird because I had a totally different piece of meat than the recipe called for) I pulled the le creuset out, peered in at my messy, messy chunks of meat, and cut off a little bit to see if it was getting tender. No, not yet. Also, it tasted like a shoe, because it was still in the tough phase, before the braising tenderizing magic happens, and also I HADN’T SALTED OR PEPPERED IT. I added S&P then, and then just really drowned the pieces in the onion sauce mixture (which you reduce a bit) when I served it. I have to say, it ended up tasting good: The Braising Magic kicked in and the meat was super tender, and blanketed in the sweet onions it was flavorful enough. I wasn’t feeling well, though, so I only ate two bites!
Served without chard or noodles, due to the lateness of the hour:
I liked my apples/sherry more than the onions, but I think short ribs might be next on the menu. And the brussels sprouts the Amateur Gourmet blogged a week or two ago, which I’ve been thinking about ever since. My mom is visiting next weekend! Cooking ahoy!