If you read our last foray into The Les Halles Cookbook, you’ll recall that the meal we attempted was delicious but also… ambitious. Enough that it caused a little stress on the way to French bistro-style sated joy. Dauntless, your indefatigable friends at the Manhattan Food Project forged ahead, and this time, things were different.
I need to preface this discourse with the comment that none of this would have been possible without a special order filled by Esposito and Sons’ butcher shop in Hell’s Kitchen. I called them on Thursday morning and they got me my pièce de résistance, veal short ribs. Yes, yes, I said veal. We don’t cook it often and we’ve articulated some of our opinions on the matter in some earlier posts.
This dish was a paragon of elegant simplicity. A roasted dish containing just the short ribs on top of a simple liquid of vinegar spiked with a touch of demi-glace and a bouquet garni thrown in for good measure yielded golden brown, succulent heaven in a few short hours of transformation time in the oven. We made some simple couscous to serve beneath the roasted love. One point of advice: the recipe suggests that you use the smallest roasting pan you have, and I see why. The vinegar liquid pretty much completely evaporated during the cooking from my 11″ x 17″ roasting pan, depriving this rich dish of a need acid component. Perhaps adding some extra vinegar or making extra sauce to add to the affair closer to the end of cooking would insure more of it survived until plating. The good men at the butcher shop gave me more than I ordered, but I gladly accepted the excess; now I get to try again sooner than later.
So, this excursion back into the heart of the bistro has proven far simpler and enjoyable to boot. So, if you get bucked by a culinary horse, climb back on keep riding. Cook on!