Braised meat is old-fashioned food at its best. Its deep, rich flavor results from long, slow cooking, not fancy ingredients. And if you are entertaining at home, braising’s simple preparation and long cooking time give you the chance to prepare the rest of the meal. In addition, braised foods often improve in flavor when cooked ahead, allowed to cool, and then reheated–a gift to the busy cook. For this menu, Bliss has taken an Italian classic, ossobucco, (braised veal shank), and seasoned it with cumin, coriander, and lemon zest to give it a North African flavor. The remaining dishes–a salad of citrus and bitter greens, pasta to soak up the veal’s savory juices, sautéed greens, and fresh fruit for dessert–balance the rich and spicy flavors of the main dish.
Bliss gives advice on what pan to use, choosing a cut of meat, adding spices and aromatics, and using homemade stock. He takes us through the braising process, which is also illustrated by a series of photographs. Other photographs depict all of the side dishes, including the oven-dried tomato garnish. A sidebar gives a countdown for this menu that begins three days ahead. Rosina Tinari Wilson chooses rustic wines to suit the menu’s casual character. Recipes include: Radiccio, Endive & Grapefruit Salad; Braised Veal Shanks with Moroccan Spices; Moroccan Spice Rub; Acini di Pepe Pasta with Zucchini & Peppers; Oven-Dried Tomatoes; and Sautéed Red Swiss Chard with Garlic & Bacon.