Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The short ribs at Tra Vigne Restaurant in St. Helena, California are worth the trip to the West Coast. However, despite the wildly publicized recipe, it’s not worth recreating these ribs at home on the east coast. A few weeks ago, however, I tried.
Ryan and I set out early in the morning one Saturday to buy four pounds of meat so we would have time to brine the ribs all day long. About $45 later, the short ribs were out on our fire escape swimming in brown sugar, salt, water and juniper berries. Later that afternoon we browned the ribs and then added the red wine, sherry vinegar and vegetables. We tucked the covered pot deep into the oven so the ribs could simmer slowly, melting off the layers of fat and leaving only the tender meat. About 4 hours later we pulled them out and served them with polenta and green beans. Simple enough.
Up until this point, I was excited about the recipe. However, when I looked down at the meat left on the ribs after hours of slow cooking and then looked up at Ryan, Theo and a very hungry post-bike ride Alberto, I quickly realized we would all be sucking on the bare bones in no time.
The ribs were great…tender, flavorful and gorgeous to look at. But they were tiny, expensive and took hours of preparation. I suppose doubling the recipe wouldn’t have added any preparation or cooking time, but it would have really emptied my wallet. If I want my wallet emptied, I think I’ll just fly to California and order the short ribs at Tra Vigne.