Monday, July 13, 2015

Périgord - Grilled Veal Rack

One of the great cooking pleasures that I am denied as an urban dweller is grilling. Our friends in Périgord have a lovely gas grill, set up overlooking a beautiful valley, which was calling me from the moment we arrived.

I had recently come across twin recipes in Bon Appétit for grilled rack of veal and grilled rack of pork, both of which called for rubbing the meat, searing it on the grill, then roasting it slowly on the grill, then removing  the loan from the bones and finally separating the bones and grilling them at high heat for a few minutes. The loin is great and the bones even better. I determined to give it a try with wonderful French veal from the nearby Limousin, rubbed with a porcini powder, sugar, salt and pepper melange.

The first order of business, and perhaps the most fun, was a trip to the local butcher to get the veal rack. My friend said I needed to get Jean-Louis to wait on me, but a younger butcher asked to serve me and I didn't want to be rude. When I described what I wanted -- a four-bone rack of veal trimmed but not Frenched, with the chine bone removed -- he said I needed to wait for Jean-Louis. When J-L heard what I needed, he brought out a side of veal and we jointly decided on the perfect cut. He was rightly extremely proud of his veal, which he emphasized is raised complete "sous la mere" (under its mother) (this is the most humane way to raise veal and, not surprisingly, results in the tastiest meat). When I described what I planned to do, he was pleased, and since our roast was too big for four I joked that he should come for dinner. What vegetable are you making? he replied. As I have described in other posts, I just love going to the butcher in France.

The second problem was the rub. After searching in vain (as expected) for porcini powder, I finally found dried porcini (cèpes in French) at a supermarket, which I ground into powder in our friends' excellent blender. The rub itself was simple and all that waited was the grilling.

Here is the beautiful roast being seared on the grill . . .

Rack of veal on the grill
and here it is in the kitchen after it was fully roasted.

Roasted rack of veal
And then there's the proud me, getting ready to cut the roast off the bones prior to grilling them.

A boy (me) and his veal rack
I was too busy having fun at this point to remember to get a picture of the grilling or grilled bones, which were truly spectacular. So I and my hosts will have to settle for the memory and you will have to use your imagination.

The next day I returned to the butcher and loudly told Jean-Louis how well the meal had come out and how much I appreciated his meat. He was beaming and one of the many ladies on line in the shop said my visit was well-timed, producing a perfect commercial for Jean-Louis and his excellent butcher shop.

Bobby Jay

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