Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Parma 8200 - Minneapolis

Outside of it being the picture perfect night and in check of a great waiter who was nothing less than perfect, my little sister got terribly lost and that set the stage for the entire evening. I’ve never quite laughed so hard between the bites of what I would consider one of the best meals I’ve had in my hometown.

I loved the Osso Bucco special but the true star of the meal was a magnificent butterscotch panna cotta capped with a caramel sauce and a dollop of mascarpone.
This dessert was the best I have ever had anywhere. I savored every bite with my tiny, demitasse spoon while fighting off my family who were all into it for just one more taste.
Me, the ultimate queen of a split, finally found something that I was not into share.
I made this version at home the following Sunday and it was so delicious that I made it again the very next day. What surprised me is that I found two recipes – one easy and one hard. I chose the easy one and much to my surprise, it was almost like Parma’s.
Let set in the refrigerator for a good 8 hours.

8 ounces Brach's butterscotch candies, unwrapped, plus extra for garnish if desired
1 quart heavy cream, divided
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For garnish: almond brittle, butterscotch sauce and/or mascarpone

In the bowl of a food processor, pulverize the candies until they break down into dust.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 cups of the cream over medium low-to-medium heat until small bubbles form around the edge of the pot. Add the candy and cook until it melts, 7 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, bring the remaining 2 cups heavy cream to a simmer.
When the candy has completely melted, reduce the heat to low and sprinkle the gelatin over the flavored cream. Stir until the gelatin dissolves.
Slowly add the simmering cream to the candy mixture, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat. Let cool slightly.
Pour the mixture into individual serving dishes, cool, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.
Garnish each serving with blueberries and almond brittle, as benjy's does, or berries, whipped cream and a sprinkle of crushed candies.
Bon Appetit!
A Long, Slow Braise:
Since I could not find Veal Shanks at the market this week, I opted for rich, meaty oxtail.
I was fresh off my dinner from Parma 8200 and was in need of a fix for long, slow braised meat. I love cooking this way because once you pop everything in the oven, you’re off the hook. Just set your timer and coast.
Oxtails, a very inexpensive cut, were so delicious that this could become one of my Sunday winter standards.
Bon Appetit!
3 pounds oxtails
House Seasoning (salt, pepper and garlic powder)
1 teaspoon olive oil 
1 can beef broth
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 cloves garlic, large ones cut in 1/2
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 (8-ounce) can tomato suace
1/2 Vidalia onion, cut into 6 wedges
6 small new red potatoes, cut in 1/2
4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 pot hot buttered rice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sprinkle the oxtails liberally with House Seasoning on both sides.

Coat the bottom of a heavy oven-proof Dutch oven with the olive oil. Once heated, add the oxtails and sear on all sides. Remove and set aside. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the beef broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic cloves. Stir. Add basil, oregano, bay leaves, hot sauce, tomato sauce, and the reserved oxtails. Stir to combine all ingredients together.

Cover tightly, place in oven, and bake for 2 ½  to 3 hours.

Remove from oven and bring to a simmer on stove top. Add the sweet onion wedges, red potatoes, garlic and carrots to the pot. Cover and simmer until  potatoes are almost tender, roughly 15 minutes.

Serve oxtails with the vegetables over hot buttered rice.