Monday, June 28, 2010

Triple Bone Marrow: Double Crown, Fergus Henderson and Croquettes

If anyone follows my Twitter feed (like you care), you might know that I was really really craving bone marrow all last week. By Friday, my hunger had reached the breaking point. So before seeing a midnight showing of "The Room" with a bunch of friends in the East Village, my buddy and I went downtown in search of bone marrow. I looked on Menupages for bone marrow dishes, and noticed that Double Crown served a miso glazed marrow with orange marmalade and toast. It was also conveniently located across the street from DBGB, which serves a fantastic marrow dish with mustard seeds and Katz's pastrami.

Reaching the Bowery Restaurant District (or you could call the area around East Houston and Bowery E-HoBo), we found that DBGB was packed (as expected). So was Double Crown, and we were quoted an hour-long wait. Luckily, we slid into two open seats at the corner of the bar. My buddy volunteered that he'd been drinking since 3pm to every gorgeous girl within earshot while I desperately tried to get the bartender's attention. I ordered almost immediately after getting the menu-- bone marrow and... chicken wings?

Served "Szechuan style" ($10) on the snacks menu, the chicken wings were the surprise of the night. I was skeptical, but intrigued (and needed something substantial + cheap to go with the marrow).  I do not exaggerate when I say that these were in the top 3 best wings I have ever eaten. Completely unexpected. We were served 8 wings that looked like Korean fried chicken wings, with their telltale crispy shells. Coating the wings was essentially the common Szechuan sauce containing chile oil, Szechuan peppercorn, soy, sugar and sometimes ginger. It was awesome.... I could have eaten about 50. Are these a secret? I can't believe I haven't heard anyone else rave about them, but I would definitely go back to Double Crown for the wings alone.

My only complaint is the side of celery and carrots with... nothing. What the hell? Don't give me celery and carrots if you aren't going to serve me a delicious blue cheese dressing to dip it in. My buddy gave the bartender a crazy look as he tried to pass by, blurting out "WHERE'S DA BLUE CHEESE?" The bartender shook his head no and ran off.

My lips were still tingling from the Szechuan peppercorns when the miso glazed bone marrow arrived. It was good, but a letdown compared to the wings. The miso glaze added a nice salty richness, and the orange marmalade had a complex taste.  Eaten all together, it tasted like orange duck, especially with the five spice in the marmalade.  Unfortunately, the brioche was too sweet for the rest of the ingredients (I already have the marmalade, I want a neutral bread dammit!).

So the next day, still craving a more "traditional" bone marrow dish, I went to Whole Foods in Union Square, where I picked up 4 good sized marrow bones for a seemingly absurd $2.99/lb (I have only myself to blame for not looking hard enough in Chinatown).

I got home and looked up a few recipes, but quickly found the one I'd really been looking for-- Fergus Henderson's recipe for roasted bone marrow with parsley salad. The parsley salad is just chopped parsley, capers, shallots (forgot those), and a simple lemon vinaigrette. Add toast and slather on the marrow.

Henderson's recipe says 450 degrees for 15 minutes, but I was nervous about reports of melting pools of bone marrow ruining people's nights, so I cooked it at 350 (as others had recommended) for 15 minutes while I toasted my baguette pieces and prepped everything else. This was really simple, and any idiot can put it all together in about 20 minutes. Immediately out of the oven, I poured the melted marrow "butter" collecting in the bottom of the pan on top of the toast.

The result:

I got through about one and a half before I hit marrow overload. Those were some gigantic bones.

What did I do with a bunch of leftover bone marrow? Obviously it was time to try something different. First, I wriggled the rest of the marrow out of the bones and left it in the fridge overnight. The next day I pushed it through a sieve to get out any nasty stuff and started reading bone marrow recipes. Inspiration struck when I looked at the congealed hockey puck of bone marrow in my fridge and realized could play with the traditional way of serving bone marrow by making a bone marrow filled croquette over a salad with the same lemon vinaigrette as in Henderson's recipe.

Searching the internet, it appeared that croquettes were not unheard of, but I couldn't find a lot of descriptions of how to make them. One site discussed making a bone marrow bechamel, allowing it to cool, then spooning it into croquettes before breading and frying. I figured I'd give it a try. I steeped the milk in a little rosemary and bay leaf before adding it and the bone marrow to my roux. It was thick and rich, with a meaty backbone.

I allowed it to cool and started spooning croquettes onto a pan... but they were still a little too soft to work with. I plowed ahead anyway and ended up frying two croquettes-- putting them on a mesclun salad with lemon vinaigrette. It was pretty damn good, but I wanted to make the croquettes a little larger. However, I'd had my fill of bone marrow (again), so I packed half of the marrow into a hockey puck shape and put the other into a pastry bag (actually a ziploc bag).

We'll see when I get to it, but my bone marrow craving has been satiated... for now.

Double Crown
316 Bowery
NY, NY 10012

Double Crown on Urbanspoon

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