Jim spent most of last Sunday preparing dinner. He used the recipes of Michael Chiarello - brined short ribs, 5 onion cavalo nero, and potatoes "Da Delfina." A fabulous dinner, great company, and lots of good karaoke singing.
Taste and see, but make sure you have plenty of time, and have friends over to enjoy.
BRINED SHORT RIBS: BRINE
2 quarts water
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups kosher salt
2 tablespoons juniper berries
3 bay leaves
BRINED SHORT RIBS: RIBS
4 cross-cut short ribs, about 1 pound each (ask your butcher to cold smoke them if he can)
2 cups onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup carrot, coarsely chopped
1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
1 cup red wine
1 quart chicken stock
5 ONION CAVALO NERO
2 cups leek whites, small diced
2 cups scallion whites, sliced
2 cups shallot, small diced
2 cups red onion, small diced
2 cups yellow onion, small diced
2 cups carrot, grated
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 case black cabbage, chiffonade
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a sauce pan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cool completely. Cover short ribs with brine and refrigerate 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Remove short ribs from brine and pat dry. Heat a large high-sided sauté pan over moderately high heat until hot. Add a film of olive oil. When oil begins to smoke, brown short ribs on all sides. (They brown quickly because of the sugar in the brine.) When richly browned, place in a dish that can go from stovetop to oven. Add onion, carrot and celery to sauté pan and cook over moderately high heat until vegetables are well caramelized. Transfer vegetables to dish with short ribs. Add red wine to sauté pan and simmer until reduced by half, scraping up any stuck-on bits with a wooden spoon. Add stock, bring to a boil and pour over short ribs. Bring short ribs to a boil on top of the stove, then cover and bake until fork-tender, about 4 hours.
5 ONION CAVALO NERO
Slowly sweat all onions and carrot in olive oil. Add raisins, sweat briefly. Add cabbage and cook slowly stirring frequently until cooked very soft. This will take a two hours.
POTATOES "DA DELFINA"
1 1/2 pounds (about 16) small "creamer" potatoes, preferably Yukon gold
Sea salt, preferably gray salt, and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (or cilantro)
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped garlic
Put the potatoes in a large pot of cold, well salted water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until a knife slips in easily, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes. Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate until cool.
When they are cool enough to handle, hold 1 between your hands as if you were clapping and press gently with the heel of 1 hand. You want to smash the potato to about a 1/2-inch thickness while keeping it in 1 piece. The skin will split, but the potato should not fall apart. Repeat with the remaining potatoes. You can prepare the potatoes to this point several hours ahead.
Pour 1/2-inch of peanut oil in the large skillet and heat over moderately high heat.
Combine the parsley, garlic, and lemon zest in a serving bowl and set aside.
When the oil begins to smoke, carefully put the smashed potatoes in the oil and cook on both sides until crisp and well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over moderately high heat. Add the garlic and saute until lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to the bowl with the parsley-lemon mixture.
When the potatoes are ready, add them to the garlic mixture and toss gently. Serve immediately. Save the leftover garlic oil and use it to dress a salad or vegetables the following day.