Okay, I bet you are wondering where I'm going with this one; what does a satirist like Sedaris have to do with roasted bones? Allow me to explain. David and marrow will forever be entwined in my food memory because I ordered roasted veal marrow for the very first time at Lake Avenue Cafe before we went to see Sedaris at the DECC. It was a big moment for me. I have a book, My Last Supper , which asks famous chefs 'what would be your last meal on earth?' and Anthony Bourdain, sans clothing, answers, 'roast bone marrow with parsley and caper salad, with a few toasted slices of baguette and some good sea salt'. If it's good enough for his last meal, it would be sublime for my Friday night dinner.
I'd heard about the joy of beefy buttery marrow but my dogs eat raw bones and it was hard to imagine making a dinner out of what they are gnawing on under the table. It's not that I'm adverse to sharing with the dogs but other members of my household might take umbrage with such a dinner plan. Up to this point, bones at the Dougherty's were for canines only but it was all about to change. I'm tremendously glad I ordered them— it truly tastes like beefy butter and the tangy parsley and caper pesto was the perfect counterpoint to the rich and subtly sweet marrow.
As we were leaving the restaurant, I knew what I wanted to eat on Saturday night, more marrow, but wasn't sure where to procure veal bones in Bayfield. I buy the dog bones at the IGA (which are essentially the same thing) but I figured I would have a much higher chance of success in getting Ted to slather his toasted baguette with marrow if it came in a different package than George's bones. I called my favorite grocery store in Duluth, Mount Royal, and sure enough, they had beef bones and were open until midnight. This is when I knew I had some of the very best friends in the world, they agreed to be dragged along on my marrow quest at 11 o'clock after we saw Sedaris. We headed back to Bayfield with my groceries (they also carry my favorite butter from Eau Claire) and I went to bed a happy girl.
In case you are thinking, beefy butter? That sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen. Let me put your mind at ease, marrow is seriously good for you (within reason). While there is a fair amount of fat in each luscious spoonful, it's also full of vitamins and minerals, has a healthy dose of monounsaturated fatty acids and has zero saturated fat. Plus, you can share with your dogs after you've cleaned out the marrow— now that's my kind of meal.
Roasted Beef Marrow with Parsley and Caper Pesto (adapted from The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson)
8 3"-4" long pieces beef marrow bones
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 small shallots (about 1/3 cup)
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp salted capers, rinsed
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 - 10 slices baguette, brushed with olive oil and toasted
Preheat oven to 450°. Place bones, wider cut side down, in a roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast bones until marrow is soft and begins to separate from the bone but before it begins to melt, 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of bones.
Meanwhile, place parsley, shallots, garlic, oil, lemon juice, and capers in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Season pesto with salt and pepper.
Serve the bones, pesto, parmesan cheese, toasted baguette slices and additional Maldon salt and pepper on a platter. Using a long, thin spoon, scoop marrow onto toast, top with pesto and garnish with a pinch or two of salt and parmesan.