Friday, July 9, 2010

Thursday Dinner - Gartner's Marinated Short Ribs and Frisee aux Lardons

Gartner's is an institution in Portland. It's a big meat market off of 82nd in NE. It's been around for 50 years, and it's easy to see why. They have everything - everything. My favorite is the marinated pork short ribs. My brother-in-law introduced me to them a few years ago, and my mouth still waters every time I think of them. They come in a plastic bag, covered in their marinade. All you have to do is throw them on the grill for about 7 minutes and you've got crispy, slightly sweet, easy to eat short ribs. They are thinly sliced, some have bones in & some don't. You eat them with your fingers; straight off the grill if you are so inclined. I don't know what they put in the marinade, and I don't even want to speculate. All I know is they are amazing. You will be back for more.

We made a frisee aux lardons salad to go with them - inspired by our recent trip to Cafe Castagna. Frisee aux lardons is a classic French bistro salad - basically it's just frisee (that pretty, spiky leaf lettuce in salad mixes), a poached egg and cooked thick slab bacon bits. Yummmm...I found a recipe here, but Serious Eats has one that looks good, too. I also did a quick goat cheese spread which I spread on mini toast (pre-toasted, from Fred Meyer). They were a nice little addition to the meal.

We are super lucky to have a wonderful pal who has chickens. We "chicken-sat" this weekend and were able to collect several fresh eggs from them. In case you are wondering, their names are Pronto, Jack and Lucy. Pronto produces the lovely blue eggs, Jack the darker brown ones and Lucy lays the light brown eggs. No matter their color, though, they are all delicious. I'll never eat store bought eggs again! The farm fresh ones are just so good. So good.

I have never poached an egg before, weird, I know. There is a wealth of information on the internet as to the best way to do it - so I tried two different methods. The first method I used was the Saran wrap method. Basically you just take a small ramekin or bowl, cover it with about a square foot of plastic wrap, spray it with cooking oil and break the egg into the bowl. Then take the wrap and make a little packet. Tie it with string or a twist tie and drop (gently!) into simmering water for 3-4 minutes. Easy! The other method involves pricking the egg with a pin, par-boiling it for about 15 seconds, shelling it and then dropping it in the simmering water while creating a vortex with a spoon. The egg should spiral itself into a nice little ball, and you cook it for, again, 3-4 minutes. The first time I used this method, it worked like a charm. Except par-boiling it didn't work very well. I wasn't able to shell it because it wasn't hard at all. No matter, I just poured the egg into a small bowl and then dropped it into the water. Stirring gently, it spiraled up into a little ball and I was able to remove it from the water easily. You can compare the two methods here (the first pic is the one I "vortexed", the second is the one I cooked in plastic wrap):

The second time I tried the vortex method I failed miserably. The egg fell apart immediately after I poured it back into the water. Blech. I had to throw it out and start over with the plastic wrap method. The lesson? The plastic wrap method is easy, almost foolproof. The other way is maybe a tad more fun. Either way, poaching a good egg gives you a nice sense of satisfaction. I recommend giving it a try.

Gartner's Marinated Short Ribs:
1/2 lb, - 1 lb. Gartner's marinated short ribs

Heat grill to medium-high. Clean and oil it before putting the ribs on. Place ribs on the grill. Grill for about 3-4 minutes per side or until you get a nice char. They'll curl up a little, and that's fine. Serve immediately.

Frisee Aux Lardons or Salad Lyonnaise (from Cook Almost Anything):
frisée, leaves separated, washed and dried
bacon lardons (substitute pancetta or speck)
poached eggs
Seeded Mustard Dressing:
4 parts olive oil
1 part sherry vinegar
seeded mustard, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
toasted Panko bread crumbs *I added this component, it made it look pretty but didn't add much else

Place the olive oil, sherry vinegar, seeded mustard and a good grinding of salt and black pepper into a bowl - whisk until emulsified.

Lardons are just thick strips of bacon - I buy bacon in whole pieces and just cut them to size. You can buy them pre-made or use pancetta or speck if you prefer.

Dry-fry the bacon in a non-stick pan until crisp - they will release any excess fat as they cook. When done, dry them on kitchen paper to remove any excess fat.

Toast the Panko bread crumbs with butter. They toast quickly, about 2 minutes. Roll the poached egg in the toasted Panko.

Place the frisée leaves into a bowl and drizzle over the dressing - toss them well to just coat them.

Put the dressed leaves onto a plate and then scatter over with the cooked lardons. Top with Panko coated poached egg.

Toast with Chive Goat Cheese Spread:
Small toast (buy pre-toasted or toast baguette slices in the oven)
Goat cheese, room temperature
Lemon juice to taste
Chives, snipped

In a small bowl, combine goat cheese, chives lemon juice, salt and pepper. Spread on toast.

Bon Appetit!

1 comment:

rseaberg said...

I'm going to get some for sure. Killer description.