Monday, January 30, 2012

The Family Meal: Meal 9 - Lime-Marinated Fish, Osso Buco, Pina Colada

Another first for me, the open-minded eater, tonight. How is it that I have gotten through life eating ostrich and camel and octopus, but not osso buco? Oh, right, the price. This dish was always in that scary part of the menu that my parents told me not to even look at. Because every dish was over $20. I think I just got out of the habit of looking at that part of the menu. Meh. But you know what? I'm an osso buco convert. A super-tender, almost sweet, rich-marrow convert. I think I need a better paying job.

Once again the fish mentioned does not swim in US waters. Or any waters that the US apparently trades with. So I used stripped sea bass again. Hey, it was a recommended substitute. And having fish shipped is basically impossible. This is where I draw the ridiculous-ingredient line, in case you were wondering. The veal was also a bit of a trip, as the butcher at Central Market didn't want to cut me the pieces I needed because I was asking too late and he had "already cleaned the machines", whatever that means. So, a separate trip the next day was required. I happily used up the remaining pineapple from the other night's dinner (remember the pineapple with molasses and lime?), so I was happy that wouldn't be something I would find a month from now growing a science experiment in the back of my fridge.

I'm a big fan of raw fish. I will eat sashimi and sushi like it's going out of style. And I'm not talking about California rolls. I'm talking eel and fluke and some buttery white tuna. So I'm pretty cool with ceviche. It seems to be the compromise between completely raw and completely ruined. Yes, I said it. Cooked fish, for the most part, now seems so wrong to me. So I was good with this first course. Until I realized I was buying fish on Sunday night. Fish that had probably arrived on Friday at the latest. Hey, we all need something to challenge our immune systems every now and then, right? Plus, the fish guy seemed pretty sure it should be fine. Possibly. Well, it was pretty delicious. The fish just barely turned from semi-transparent to this white opalescence. The sauce just made the fish even silkier than it already was alone. And the lime added that little ceviche bite. Really good.

So after a plate of meat, I moved on to...another plate of meat. I think I'm seeing a trend here. Hey, I'm not complaining! The veal basically gets browned and then braised in this wine/tomato sauce/mirepoix/beef stock mixture and comes out the other end super tender and falling off the bone. The recipe says two hours, but I got tender action after one. So tender I had trouble getting it out of the pan in less than five pieces. And I just want to say that I love the gremolata. Terrific. I'm really starting to like having citrus on all my food.

This pina colada was really strange to me. 1) I didn't see the need in straining everything the least bit textural out of the drink. 2) There wasn't enough coconut flavor to balance against the pineapple. 3) It needed about 2-3 times the rum, but that may just be me. Plenty refreshing though. And since I couldn't find meringue cookies (why is every ingredient I look for suddenly absent from every grocery store in the city???), I sprinkled the top with some sweetened flaked coconut.

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