December 13, 2011
The bone marrow trend is going strong at Chez Oscar

Oscar bone marrow.JPGThe other day, I ordered marrow bones from the meat counter at Taylor's Market, asking that these 8-10 inch behemoths be sliced lengthwise. Taylor's is old-school. You can watch them do the cutting on the well-worn band saw.

These were gourmet-caliber bones, and I neglected to tell the butcher they were not necessarily for human consumption. Among the places I've enjoyed roasted bone marrow in the past year or so are Red Lotus (now closed) and Ella (which is about to lose its well-regarded chef to St. Helena).

Oscar, a Rhodesian mix who would eat a tank if given the time, does not have what I would describe as a discriminating palate (ask me sometime about the dead salmon at the American River). He enjoyed his marrow without cooking or seasoning. But if you're so inclined and willing to be a bit adventurous, you can turn these into a side dish for an upcoming homo sapien meal .

I called John Paul Khoury, the corporate chef at Preferred Meats (which has supplied the bones to Ella, among others) and asked how he would prepare them. A couple of days ago, he posted a photo of his roasted bone marrow with flavors of tabbouleh. It looked fantastic, and I could practically smell it through the screen of my iPad.

Ferguson marrow.jpgMore generally, JP suggests folks roast the bones at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes, perhaps with salt and pepper and a little Dijon mustard. You'll also want an accompaniment to cut the richness of the marrow -- a popular side is a simple parsley salad with a lemon vinaigrette.

Good roasted marrow has a creamy mouthfeel, but there shouldn't be a greasy finish. And you can go in several directions with a wine selection -- a big and bold zin, maybe, or sauvignon blanc with nice acidity.

Try bone marrow in the kitchen, and if that doesn't work for you, there aren't many dogs who will turn down these bones (al fresco dining for the pooch recommended with this dish unless you are due for a carpet cleaning). For Oscar and me, it has been a bonding experience.

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