Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Roasted Marrow Bones with Parsley Salad

The CC has been craving to make this recipe ever since he ate it at a restaurant a few years ago. It took a while to source the marrow bones and a little longer for the weather to get cold enough to make it.

The recipe is based on one that Fergus Henderson re-popularized. It's a complete classic and deserves to be so. It's also completely straightforward and will make your cooking seem fancier than it is if you serve it at a dinner party. (If you scarf it down by yourself, which you very well might, this blog is a judgment-free zone.)

The killer step is the combination of the French way of serving (with fleur de sel) and the English way of serving (with a tart parsley salad) both on toasted crusty bread. The English and the French ways are fairly related since La Manche is not very wide and the Norman Invasion is now more than a millenium old.


(serves 4)

Marrow Bones

8 marrow bones

Parsley Salad

3 cups parsley leaves
1 large shallot (sliced into paper-thin quarter-rings)
2 tbsp salt-preserved capers (de-salted, chopped)

1 tbsp champagne vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mustard

black pepper (lots!)

fleur de sel (to serve)
toasted crusty bread (4-6 per serving)


[1] It's very rich so a little goes a long way. Two bones each per serving works very well although three each with some extra toast would make a nutritious complete meal.

[2] The salad is best assembled at the last minute and it needs to be tarter than the usual salad so go with a 1:2 ratio of vinegar to olive oil rather than the traditional 1:3.

[3] The capers need to be preserved in salt not vinegar.

[4] The tiniest dab of mustard actually gives a faint background taste that is really great.

[5] The CC rebelled against the original recipe which finely dices the shallots. Extremely fine quarter-rings give it a much more refined texture which contrasts the salad against the rich creamy marrow.

[6] The first step in the recipe is entirely optional. It's very chef-y and it is aesthetic in nature not functional. Skip it if necessary.

[7] The timing of this recipe crucially depends on whether you start with thawed bones prepped or frozen bones. The times and the size of the bones matter greatly. Chez CC, we serve as they get ready, the sizzling bones are always coming out on time. Sharing works wonders.


If you are going to prep the bones, dump them with ice into a bowl with two tablespoons of salt and cover with cold water. Every three hours, drain the water which will be bloody and repeat the process. Four times and you will have immaculate white bones and there will be no more blood in the water. This step is really aesthetic. You can roast the frozen bones directly. The blood will turn black when roasted. (Chefs are control-freaks about precision so this step really helps because the bones are now thawed and can be controlled precisely.)

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Make the toast and set aside. Slice a baguette on the bias and let it toast in the oven. Depending on the slice size, it should be 4-5 minutes.

Clean the bones and make sure they are absolutely dry. If they are short you can put them vertically, with the flat sized down. Otherwise lay them horizontally. Don't sweat this.

Roast in the oven for 25 minutes. It will take 45 minutes if they are frozen. The marrow will be quivering like jelly and slightly puffy when it's done.

Meanwhile, assemble the parsley salad. Make the vinaigrette. Toss the salad.

Serve the roasted marrow bones with the parsley salad, toast and fleur de sel on the side. Eating is a matter of topping the toast with whatever combination your heart desires.

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