Those of you familiar with the history of the French Revolution will remember that Camille Demoulins was martyred by the Committee for Public Safety along with his pal George Jaques Danton. I imagine Demoulins and Danton liked to scoop out marrow bones at the meetings of the Girondins while worrying over whose heads would come off next. Turned out it would inevitably be their own.
If you love osso buco you already know that the best part is that unctuous morsel of marrow in the middle of the “osso”. In fact bones have been roasted just for the marrow for centuries. So there are many recipes for marrow bones out there. Anytime I see them in some form on a restaurant menu it’s an automatic choice for me.
This recipe uses celery tops to substitute for the traditional parsley salad that accompanies roasted marrow bones. Trust me, it works beautifully. The split marrow bones make a beautiful pale canvas for the celery leaf salad composed of celery leaves and a bit of stalks along with capers and shallot dressed in olive oil. In order to make it you will need the services of a good butcher and access to a good green market because, speaking of beheadings, supermarkets for some bizarre reason take the tops off of celery before putting them on sale. This is sinful as there is such terrific flavor in the leaves. And for the marrow bones some recipes call for them to be roasted whole (and that’s fine) but if you have an actual butcher who can split them for you are in luck.
LONG marrow bones, beef or veal ,split lengthwise. They don’t have to be the same length, it makes for better presentation if they are not.
1 large, leafy bunch of celery. You’ll need enough to yield 1 ½ cups when chopped. You will be only using the tops here so save the rest for braising or tuna salad or something.
salt packed capers, rinsed.
Good olive oil for the bones as well as the for the salad
Behead the celery saving the leaves, the small leaf stems and a bit of the narrow end of the stalks. Chop on a cutting board. One of my favorite quotes from Fergus Henderson when making the parsley version of this salad mix has always been, “lightly chop your parsely, just enough to discipline it”. Do that with your celery tops.
Soak the capers in water
Chop the shallot
Brush the bones with olive oil and place in a roasting pan. Roast for about 20 minutes until a fork or skewer easily pierces the marrow.
Meanwhile drain the capers and combine with the chopped celery mix and the chopped shallot. With a fork and blend together with a drizzle of olive oil. How much oil is up to you.
Toast the bread and slice into wedges (toast points)
Remove the bones from the oven to plate. Turn off the oven. Generously spread the celery leaf salad over the bones. Arrange your toast points and serve with fleur de sel on the side to be added at the table by the diner to their own taste.
Note to cook: a big shout out to J&R Natural Meat in Templeton, CA for surviving on the real craft of artisan butchery. You can’t deliver on a plate like this without a real life butcher backing you up. Respect the tradition.
Another note to cook: as Food52 doesn't let you tag your recipe anymore, the "Season" is Thermidor.
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.