A rainy day's bollito misto
Rain was predicted last weekend, but who knew if it would really show up? Nevertheless, I decided to cook as if a tremendous storm were on the way. The garden needed rainy weather. I needed it, too, if only as an excuse to stay in and make bollito misto. It’s one of my favorite dishes, especially as it's prepared in Emilia-Romagna or Piedmont, where the mixed boiled meats are usually served up from a cart and carved, Lawry’s-style, right in front of you.
Some versions include half a dozen cuts, but I wasn't planning on anything that elaborate. I was feeling a little lazy, and so bought some brisket at Marconda Meats in the original Farmers Market and added a veal tongue I already had in the freezer. I knew I had a jar of pear mostarda somewhere and some good mustards. But I wanted one more sauce, which I found in David Tanis’ second cookbook, “Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys" (Artisan, New York, 2010, $35).
He boils tongue and beef brisket with onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns for about 3 hours and serves the sliced meats and carrot with boiled potatoes and two sauces — a caper sauce and a red pepper sauce. I made just the latter and it is terrific, just slightly hot and a gorgeous red that brightened up all that brown.
To make Tanis' red pepper sauce, put 1 cup good-quality canned tomatoes (drained), 1 garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 1 roasted sweet red pepper (or 1/2 cup jarred roasted peppers) and 1/4 cup olive oil in a blender, and blend at high speed to a thick puree. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a small serving bowl and serve with the boiled meats. That’s it. Easy.
In fact, the whole meal is easy and we had enough bollito misto left over for another supper, and for tongue tacos for lunch.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Photo: Bollito misto. Credit: S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times