Mediterranean Osso Buco with Zesty Gremolata


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Osso Buco

This dish, which has its roots in Milan, is braised in wine and aromatics and served over saffron-scented rice. Osso Buco actually translates to mean "hole bone," alluding to the rich melt in your mouth marrow contained in the center. Be sure to provide small forks or little knives to coax out the soft delicacy. This recipe calls for a dash of balsamic vinegar and the option of adding olives and anchovies to give the dish a little extra intrigue. The gremolata topping is optional, but lends a vibrant note when spooned over the veal.

Behind the Counter
Have your butcher cut the shanks into 2 1/2 – to – 3-inch pieces (about 10 ounces each). Ask your butcher to tie kitchen twine around the outside of the meat, as if cinching the shank with a belt at the waist, so that it does not fall off the bone when cooking.

Alternate cuts
There is no exact substitute that will produce the same dish, but you can use the sesame ingredients and method to prepare veal spare ribs (-$) or lamb shanks (-$).


Osso Buco

4 veal shanks cut osso buco style
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup flour for dredging, seasoned with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ˝ teaspoon freshly ground blackpeppe
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives, optional
2 to 3 small anchovy filets, finely minced or 1 tablespoon anchovy paste, optional
3/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups chicken stock
1 bouquet garni: 1 bay leaf, 4 sprigs thyme, wrapped and tied in cheesecloth, pouch or with kitchen


1 lemon peel, zested
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1/2 cup freshly minced flat – leaf parsley




Categories: Entree, budget, italian, savory,


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat the oil in a braising pot. Pat the veal dry, and dredge theveal in the seasoned flour. Brown the veal on both sides, over medium – high heat, until a nicebrown crust forms on each piece. Remove the veal to a plate. In the same pot, cook the carrotsand onions over medium heat, until lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Add the smashed garlic, andthe olives and anchovies if using, and cook 5 minutes longer. Pour the wine and vinegar intothe pot, scraping up any bits that collected on the bottom and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Place the veal back into the pot, along with any liquid that collected on the plate. Add the tomatoes and stock. The liquids shouldn’t drown the meat; the top portion ofeach shank should show. Nestle the bouquet garni in the sauce. Cover and cook at 325 degreesfor 1 ˝ to 2 hours, until the meat is very tender.

Prepare the gremolata by combining all the ingredients, reserve. When the meat is finished cooking, carefully remove the meat and vegetables from the pot with a slotted spoon. Removeand discard the bouquet garni and bring the sauce to a slow boil. To thicken the sauce, createa slurry by mixing 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 4 teaspoons of water, stir back into the pot,heat and repeat if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the veal(remove the string) and top each serving with a generous pinch of gremolata.

Osso buco and rice Milanese have enjoyed a long marriage. Preparing rice Milanese is as easyas making boiled rice, with the addition of golden saffron threads, which add the mellow yellowcolor and a burst of flavor. This precious spice comes from the dried stigma of a saffron crocusand by weight is the most expensive spice in the world. You only need a pinch to impart itsdistinctive taste and distinguishing color. Prepare your white rice as directed on the package andadd a pinch of saffron to the cooking liquid. If you replace the water with chicken or vegetablestock, the flavor will be even more amplified.

From the book The Kosher Carnivore.

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June Hersh

June Hersh is the author of The Kosher Carnivore: The Ultimate Meat and Poultry Book, which you can find online and in major bookstores. She lives in Manhattan and Bedford, NY. You can read more at