So last week, The Gypsy Fish Company had the opportunity to cohost a Smoked Salmon, Homemade Bagel, and Champagne party in Los Angeles. Michael and Molly Foran Yurchak’s home provided a great setting and a chance to connect with new friends and customers.
I used the opportunity to make some contacts up and down the coast and got to visit some old friends in Ojai and Goleta and also to stop at the Jalama Road Family Farmstand and trade some salmon for sustainably raised beef. This was particularly exciting for me because I’ve long been an admirer of the Malloy brothers as surfers but also as advocates for living intentionally and with integrity. The JRF project really continues in that tradition. It’s about community. Family. Stewardship. This is a piece of land that is beautiful and will remain that way – sacred and protected until/if the ownership changes hands.
For me, the trade was a no brainer and I chuckled at the irony that I had champagne left over from the Bagel Brunch which I could hand over in exchange for cuts from Dan and Grace’s wedding steer.
When I got home, the first cut that I cooked were the Beef Short Ribs
The preparation is one inspired by Alice Water’s Chez Panisse. It’s an involved dish but not fussy and represents connectivity. Short ribs are a fatty cut, high in connective tissue. By braising it the tissue breaks down and is infused with the aromatic root vegetables that go in the braising liquid. By the end of the preparation, we end up with a tremulously tender piece of meat, perched on a bed of potatoes and brassicas and garnished with a grassy gremolata of parsley, garlic, and lemon rind. It’s a synthesis of earthy root vegetables, connective tissue, the blood of wine and salt of earth. A real gift to be able to trade the liquidity of watery borne salmon for something so rooted in the earth.
Beef Short Ribs with Gremolata
5 to 6 pounds of Beef Short Ribs – cut to two inches
Coarse kosher salt
3 large yellow onions
2 leeks chopped and washed carefully
3 large carrots
2 Bay leaves
1 1/2 cups red wine
Beef stock to top off (or just water … if you have the option for boullion or water PLEASE go with water)
1 bunch of parsley finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon finely minced
1 garlic clove – finely minced
salt and olive oil
1. Salt and Pepper short ribs generously, cover, and place in the refrigerator over night.
2. Preheat oven to 475 F. Arrange the short ribs on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper bone side down and brown in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the meat is lightly browned.
3. Saute the onions in a pan until softened and then add carrots and leeks and soften. Toss in the tomatoes, smashed garlic cloves, and parsley and Bay leaves and soften further.
4. Line a earthen roasting pan with a layer of the vegetables, place the short ribs on top, BONE UP and then add wine and enough stock to just barely cover the short ribs.
5. Cover tightly with foil and place in a 450F oven until simmers and then reduce temperature to 350F.
6. Ribs should be done after 1.5 to 2 hours. You’ll know because the ribs will be nearly falling off the bone and a paring knife will meet no resistance if pushed into the meat.
7. Remove the short ribs and place them on the sheet tray bone side down. Turn up the oven to 475F. Press out the braising liquid using a colander and the bottom of a ladle. Now defat it and reduce it over the medium heat.
8. Return the short ribs to the oven and remove when the ribs have taken on a glaze. This takes about ten minutes or so.
9. Now you’re ready to serve – serve it over your favorite starch and steam fried greens – garnished generously with the gremolata.