mustard-braised veal ribs; roasted radicchio; minutina


oh, wow.

I’ve never cooked veal ribs before. Growing up, I loved my mother’s ‘barbecued spare ribs’, and I know I’ve cooked pork ribs a few times, but that was well before I began this blog, so I have no documentation. I did cook goat ribs some 5 years back, but that’s about it in modern times, so when I bought a neat package of veal ribs from Peter at the Consider Bardwell Farm stand in the Greenmarket, it was not without some anxiety: I had no idea what to do with it.

Thank the kitchen fairies for the internet! Not one of my hard copy sources, books or clippings, had a darn thing on this cut. While the Google results hardly jumped out of the screen (what I did find was complicated by the search engine’s unfamiliarity with the combination of the words, ‘veal’ and ‘ribs’), a few things eventually showed up. I excluded most because of complexity (one included dozens of ingredients) and for the estimated preparation time (as usual my cooking window was limited last night).

The preparation I chose to follow, mostly, was labelled, ‘Country Mustard Braised Veal Riblets‘; it had appeared in the Los Angeles Times over 25 years ago, and was waiting for me yesterday on line.

The recipe looked like a winner, and it was.

  • the original recipe was halved, but followed pretty closely, with the exception of the addition of some cayenne pepper to the seasoned flour, and, by impulse, the introduction of 5 or 6 rosemary sprigs into the liquid just before the pot was covered and the braising begun; the ingredients included Spanish Dulce paprika, Nigerian cayenne pepper, 23 ounces of veal rib (that is 3 ribs, one of which I sawed in half) from Consider Bardwell Farm (boy cows can’t help with the cream), a very sturdy dark mustard (Maille Old Style Whole Grain Dijon Mustard), a medium onion from Stokes Farm, a little fresh apple juice from Locust Grove Fruit Farm, organic lemon juice from Whole Foods, a bit of Linden blossom honey from Tremblay Apiaries, finishing the ribs on the plate with a sprinkling of zest from the organic lemon
  • one head of radicchio from Campo Rosso Farm, which had been presented to guests at a recent farm dinner at Untitled, quartered, a toothpick stuck into each quarter to hold its shape, placed in a medium unglazed ceramic oven pan (Pampered Chef, well-seasoned), drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted at 400º for about 15 minutes, turning once, finished with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and, once on the 2 plates, scattered with shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano Vacche Rosse from Buon Italia
  • a small amount of minutina from Lani’s Farm (that remained after most of it had appeared in 2 earlier meals), washed, drained, then barely wilted, inside a tin-lined copper sauté pan with a bit of olive oil, for only about 15 seconds, above a low-to-medium flame, seasoned with salt and pepper and finished on the plates with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon
  • the wine was an Italian (Langhe) red, Rivetto Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2013
  • the music was Handel’s ‘Arminio’,  Alan Curtis conducting Il Complesso Barocco, with Vivica Genaux, Dominique Labelle, Manuela Custer, Luigi Petroni, Sytse Buwalda, Riccardo Ristori, and Geraldine McGreevy, et al.