Eastside Road, December 12, 2014—I DO LIKE TO COOK every now and again — but tonight revealed that I sure am out of practice. The first course went well enough, a sort of casual salade lyonnaise: I cut two slices of good bacon into squares maybe half an inch on a side and rendered them very slowly in the black iron skillet, made a vinaigrette with olive oil, some of the warm bacon fat, salt, and sherry vinegar, dressed a couple of small heads of frisée with that, then put a poached egg on each serving. Toast on the side, as you see.
So far, so good. But Richard Olney's foolproof recipe for lamb shanks, which I've made a number of times, seems to have moved into the pit of complacency — knowing how simple and reliable it is, I got careless. I browned the shanks in too much olive oil; it never let the lamb take over. The many cloves of garlic cooked too hard, and didn't purée properly in the food mill.
Still, it's a delicious dish. The dry herbes de Provence that I brought back from Nice over a year ago haven't lost their savor. I cooked up a batch of De Cecco's fettucine to put the little bit of sauce on, and though the dish was undersalted it was good enough. Next week I'll do better. It takes time to get yer chops back.
Since salad was the entrée, no need for green salad afterward. Instead, the last slice of Thanksgiving's pumpkin pie, with a little bit of hard sauce.
Cheap Pinot grigio