Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Marrow and pesto

Eastside Road, May 21, 2014–

FEW THINGS SET my month to watering quicker than the prospect of beef marrow. When I see it on the menu I see little else. Sorry: I’m unreconstructed.

The best I’ve had, I think, was in a curious restaurant called, as I recall, Berowra Waters, a luxurious place beside a lake in back-country north of Sydney, among mountains — you had to fly in your private seaplane to get there, I was first told, though later it turned out there was a narrow road to that deep north and in the event I managed to hitchhike. The marrow arrived correctly, lifted out in perfect discs, like fat sea-scallops, on perfect triangles of toast on a spotless folded napkin; and at this point, thirty years later, that’s all I remember. That, and the succulence, and the feeling of perfect satiety.

So marrow night before last, though quite differently presented: two beef-bones, each say five inches long, split exactly in half lengthwise, and fired under the broiler. It was left up to me to dig the marrow out with a spoon or my table knife, neither quite sharp enough to separate the last shred from the bone. The toast was small thin discs of brioche, very nice and crisp, and the marrow was of course delicious.

Sigalas assyrtiko, Santorini (Greece), 2012, surprising and refreshing;
Petite sirah, Miro (Dry Creek), 2011, fruity and full  

• Willi’s Wine Bar,  4404 Old Redwood Highway, Santa Rosa, California; 707-526-3096 

THEN, LAST NIGHT, dinner at home, with first a bowl of nice cabbage-and-bean soup we’d bought impulsively at a cute little lunch-counter in a nearby town and brought home for just this occasion, then a satisfying bowl of penne al pesto: a whole big bunch of Genovese basil pounded up in the mortar with pine nuts, fresh garlic, and salt; don’t forget the olive oil. Green salad afterward, of course, and an apple, and a bit of chocolate…

Rosé, La Ferme Julien, 2012

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