Mediterranean Osso Buco with Zesty Gremolata

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 (-$) or lamb shanks (-$).


1 bouquet garni: 1 bay leaf, 4 sprigs thyme, wrapped and tied in cheesecloth, pouch or with kitchen

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup diced tomatoes, drained

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup white wine

2 to 3 small anchovy filets, finely minced or 1 tablespoon anchovy paste, optional

1 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives, optional

4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

2 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)

1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup flour for dredging, seasoned with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground blackpeppe

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 veal shanks cut osso buco style

1 lemon peel, zested

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

1/2 cup freshly minced flat – leaf parsley


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 ½ 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.

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