Monday, March 5, 2012


I'm a big fan of Ferran Adria's The Family Meal, which ditches all the foams and spherifications for some simple home cooking that even yours truly can figure out. The recipes are set out in 3 course meals and gives proportions for feeding 2, 6, and so on, taking all sorts of guess work out of the equation. And the most useful thing? Each meal sets out how far in advance you have to do everything, so that you know not to watch all of High Fidelity on tv and start making dessert so that you have the oven free for the main course and that you have that movie on DVD anyways so why be so lazy or get off my back already Adria geesh.

We mixed and matched a few dishes for tonight's dinner, making all three courses because we had a guest to share the gluttony with. While most everything went off without a hitch, the main thing we forgot was to take pictures of everything. Of the three courses - grilled lettuce hearts, osso bucco, and coconut flan - we only took a photo of the latter. Since flan isn't usually the most, uh, picturesque, here's our photoshopped flan album cover instead (bonus points if you can name which artist we paid homage to).

Here's the recipes (all for feeding 2):

Grilled Lettuce Hearts
8 sprigs worth of mint leaves
1 tsp of wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup olive oil, and a bit more for frying
2 lettuce hearts

Put the mint leaves and mustard in a blender, and add the sherry vinegar and egg yolk. Slowly add the oil while blending, until the mint is finely chopped and the dressing is nicely emulsified.

Cut the lettuce hearts in half and season with a bit of salt. Fry with a bit of olive oil until golden on both sides. Afterwards, cut each in half again, then serve with the dressing you just made.

Osso Bucco
1 tsp carrots, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes
1 tsp celery, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 veal shanks, about 9oz each
about 1.5 tbsp of flour
about 1.5 tbsp of butter
1/3 white wine
2 dried bay leaves
2 tsp tomato sauce
2.25 cups beef stock (there's separate recipes too for the tomato sauce and beef stock, which I was just too lazy to make)

For the gremolata:
2 tsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lemon
1 orange

Preheat the oven to 400F. Season the veal with salt and pepper. Coat the veal lightly with flour.

Heat a large pan on high with half the butter, brown the veal on both sides and remove. Turn the heat down to medium, add the remaining butter and the carrots. Cook for about a minute, then add the onion, celery, and garlic. Cook for another 10 minutes until tender, stirring frequently.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and wait until most of the wine has cooked off. Add the tomato sauce and bay leaves, and cook until thickened, around 10 minutes. Add the veal back into the pan, spoon the vegetables over each piece, and add the beef stock. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

For the gremolata, mix the chopped parsley and garlic, and then grate in the zest of the orange and lemon. Mix well.

When the meat is finished cooking, add the gremolata just before serving.

It goes without saying that a spoon should be offered to enjoy the marrow.

Coconut Flan

Out of the three recipes, this is the one I struggled with the most, as the proportions seemed all slightly off. This serving is meant for 5, though what I ended up with was just enough for 3.

For the caramel:
2 tsp water
2.5 tbsp sugar

For the flan:

2 eggs
1 cup coconut milk
2 and 2/3 cup grated coconut
2 tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a saucepan, add the water and the 2.5tbsp sugar on low heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Afterwards, turn the heat up to high, and watch all sorts of bizarre chemical reactions occur, going from syrupy, to flaky, to syrup, to golden...remove from the heat when a nice mahogany brown. Quickly pour into whatever mold you're using, since it will harden quickly as it cools.

Whisk the eggs until frothy. In a separate bowl, whisk the coconut milk, grated coconut and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the eggs and whisk until even, and then pour into the mould. Cover with foil.

Conjure up a bain marie by placing the mould in a roasting pan, and then adding water around the mould until the water comes up halfway up the mould. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the flan is firm to the touch. Chill in the fridge.

When you're ready to serve, loosen the edges with whatever you got, then turn the flan out of the mould and onto the serving plate. If you have any extra coconut milk left, spoon that over for that extra...coconut.

Check out Ferran Adria's The Family Meal o'er at Phaidon.

the clutterer Web Developer