I recently had my parents and grandmother over to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Eager to find a menu that would knock my mom’s socks off, Many and I put our noggins together and came up with a winner! First, we needed an appetizer. Inspired by fellow throwdowner Aurélie Ptito‘s account of a friend’s recipe, we decided to prepare the same dish: tomato, basil, and goat cheese served between two slices of Panko fried eggplant with a drizzle of balsamic reduction on top. It’s a sort of twist on the Caprese salad that I know my mom loves.
After this fresh and surprisingly light dish, we followed with a Malbec-Braised Short Rib served with rosemary mashed potatoes and parsnips, with a side of green beans. This recipe was exciting to do as we had no idea of how to prepare the meat at all. Thankfully, La Maison du Rôti, probably the most incredible butcher and fine foods store in Montreal, was there to help. They were quite surprised when we asked for 5 portions of short ribs, côtes courtes in French, and that we were looking to prepare them the way they do in restaurants, with part of the rib exposed. Not a common request I guess. La Maison du Rôti was great in that they have butcher blocks with plexiglass around them (to protect the customer from flying juices I suppose) so that they can show you how to cut and prepare your meat. So, after a half an hour detailed explanation we took our meat along with a two cup tub of their delicious veal stock and quickly headed home (we had three hours until my parents arrive and as you will see, short ribs take a long time to prepare and cook.)
Below is a detailed explanation of how to make the appetizer along with these succulent short ribs. I was so surprised by the ribs and my family’s reaction, that I wished I had made them for the BBQ Throwdown!
PANKO CRUSTED EGGPLANT TOWERS
1 large eggplant
1 cup of flour
2 cups of Panko
Firm goat cheese with rind
Handful of fresh basil
Pepper and salt to taste
Makes 6 portions and takes about 30 minutes to prepare
1. Cut the eggplant in pairs of even slices and set aside.
2. Sprinkle the flour in a plate; whisk the eggs in large bowl; sprinkle some Panko in a second plate.
3. Take your eggplant slices and coat them with flour. Dip each floured slice in the egg until evenly coated. Press each slice into the Panko crumbs several times on each side until they are covered. Set slices aside.
4. Heat up the vegetable oil in a large deep frying pan. Give yourself about 1/2 an inch of oil. Take a few Panko crumbs and test temperature of oil before putting in your eggplant slices. If the oil starts bubbling immediately around the Panko crumbs (like simmering water) without splashing, then your oil is ready.
5. Fry each eggplant slice and flip them so that both sides are golden. Do not fry them for too long as the oil will still cook the eggplant after you’ve taken them out. Place each fried eggplant slice on paper towel, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and keep warm in the oven until ready to be stacked.
6. Cut even slices of the tomato and goat cheese. The point of getting a goat cheese with rind is that it holds its shape nicely when cut into slices, then melted on the warm eggplant.
7. The easiest and most fun part comes now. Create your stacks by placing the larger eggplant pieces on the bottom, then top with the goat cheese, the tomato, the fresh basil leaves, followed by the second eggplant slice.
8. Drizzle the balsamic reduction around and on top of the stack.
9. Sit back and enjoy the praise!
This recipe is best served with a crisp, nicely chilled, Sauvignon Blanc.
Meanwhile your ribs should have been cooking in the oven for 2 1/2 hours…
MALBEC-BRAISED SHORT RIBS (adapted from Bon Appétit)
5 separated 4-5 inch long short ribs
3 tablespoons room-temperature butter
Coarse kosher salt
2 1/2 cups chopped red onions
2 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled parsnips
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 750-ml bottle inexpensive Malbec
2 cups low-salt veal broth, preferably homemade and not in cube
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Serves 5 people copiously and takes 45 minutes to prepare the meat before cooking it in the oven for 2 1/2 hours
MASHED PARSNIPS AND RUSSET POTATOES
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound large parsnips, peeled, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1. Preparing the short ribs so that part of rib is exposed: this is the tricky part. Each short rib has a thin end and thick end of meat. From the thinner end of the rib, feel for the side of the rib where you feel the bone and slice a slit from the thin end to the middle of the rib. Slice a second slit across the bone and perpendicular to the first slit. From the first slit, peel the flesh from around the bone until completely separated down to the middle of the rib. Fold loose meat over thicker end of rib and tie together with string.
2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle ribs with coarse salt and pepper. Add to pot in single layer and sauté until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer ribs to large bowl.
4. Return ribs and any accumulated juices to pot, arranging in single layer so that ribs are entirely covered (add a bit of water if necessary). Bring to simmer; cover and place in oven. Cook until ribs are very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
6. Meanwhile, boil juices until just beginning to thicken, about 10 minutes. Mix 1 tablespoon butter and flour in small bowl to smooth paste. Whisk into juices in pot; simmer until thickened enough to coat spoon, about 5 minutes longer. Season gravy with coarse salt and pepper.
7. Serve ribs, exposed bone on bottom (like a spoon), on mashed potatoes and parsnips, with a side of green beans. Drizzle gravy over meat and potatoes.
1. Cook potatoes and parsnips in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring milk, butter, and rosemary to simmer in small saucepan.
3. Drain potato mixture and return to pot. Stir briefly over medium heat to evaporate excess moisture. Add milk mixture and mash well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer ribs and gravy to large shallow bowl. Serve with short ribs.
We paired the ribs with a round South-African red wine. Enjoy!