While it's popular among gourmands to eat bone marrow these days, it's less common to cook it at home, and to make it sweet and crunchy. The rich marrow in bones has likely been eaten since we were hominids, and 18th-century Europeans even had long silver spoons for scooping it out. Today, it's among the most accessible and buttery of offal offerings, but simply roasting bones and setting them down with a piece of bread only offers a one-note prize.

That's why we endorse chef Richard Gras's approach to the dish as served at Oak restaurant in Dallas. Gras's marrow recipe marries marrow with sweet dates, crunchy pecans, bitter frissé hearts, and some nice savory acidity from a masterly short-rib marmalade. "I think this [dish] makes the fatty marrow more appealing and interesting," says the chef. Gras, who sells about 60 orders of his marrow dish every week, recommends roasting bones on a pile of salt so that they don't move, as well as using a wet knife when cutting the sticky dates. And if you need a day to make the accompanying short-rib marmalade, don't fret: As with some of the best offal food applications, it only gets better with time.

Roasted Bone Marrow, With Short Rib Marmalade, Dates, Pecans, and Pickled Onions
(Serves 10)

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch leeks, washed, sliced
  • 1 white onion, peeled, sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch celery, chopped
  • 6 beef short ribs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic bulb, skin removed, cloves separated
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 6 cups red wine
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 cups veal stock (can substitute chicken or beef stock)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grapeseed oil as needed

Step One
Place the short ribs in a deep baking dish and cover with the mirepoix (diced celery, carrots, onions), a bay leaf, garlic, thyme and peppercorns. Then cover with the red wine, and place in the refrigerator for 24–48 hours.

Step Two
Preheat the oven to 250–300°F. Remove the short ribs from the red wine, and pat them dry with a paper towel.

Step Three
Pour the wine through a strainer and reserve the vegetables. Place the wine in a pan and reduce by half.

Step Four
Season the short ribs generously with salt and pepper. Place a skillet over medium-high heat.

Step Five
When the pan is hot, add the grapeseed oil and sear the short ribs on all sides. Be very careful not to burn the ribs because the color is difficult to distinguish thanks to the red wine.

Step Six
Place the seared ribs in a roasting pan, and cover with the vegetables reserved from the marinade. Then pour the reduced red wine on top of the ribs. Cover with the veal stock, and place the roasting pan in the oven.

Step Seven
Cook for 3 hours at no more than a simmer. (Note: If the ribs are allowed to boil, they will be tough, no matter how long they are cooked!). Let the ribs cool overnight in liquid.

Short Rib Marmalade

  • 3 red onions, peeled, diced
  • 6 shallots, peeled, diced
  • 17 oz red wine
  • 8.5 oz red wine vinegar
  • 1 oz unsalted butter
  • 17 oz short rib meat, pre-braised
  • 1 oz honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step One
Over medium heat, soften onion and shallots in butter until translucent.

Step Two
When the onions and shallots are translucent, add red wine, red wine vinegar, and honey. Reduce by half.

Step Three
Fold in short rib meat, and continue to cook until thick. Season with salt and pepper, then cool.

Pickled Red Onions

  • 1 red onion, peeled, sliced
  • 8.5 oz red wine vinegar
  • 8.5 oz granulated sugar

Place vinegar and sugar in a pot and bring to slow boil. Take off heat, and pour over the onions. Let pickle for 2 hours before using.

  • 10 canoe bones (bone marrow bones split in half)
  • 17 oz short rib marmalade
  • 2 oz frissé, cut into small pieces
  • 1 oz medjool dates, pitted, cut into small pieces
  • 1 oz pecans, toasted, cut into small pieces
  • 2 oz pickled onions
  • 1/2 oz horseradish, grated on microplane
  • 2 oz mixed herbs, leaves picked off woody stems (parsley, chervil, chives, tarragon)
  • 1 sourdough baguette

To serve

Step One
Preheat oven to 425°F. Place bone marrow on a baking sheet lined with salt. Place the bone marrow on salt so that it doesn't tip over while baking; place sheet in the oven.

Step Two
Bake for 5 minutes, and take out of the oven.

Step Three
Place a generous amount of short rib marmalade on top of marrow, and place sheet back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

Step Four
Take out of the oven, and top with a mixture of dates, pecans, pickled onions.

Step Five
In a bowl, mix frissé and herbs. Then top the marrow-marmalade-date mixture with this.

Serve with a side of toasted sourdough baguette.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Richard Gras of Oak Dallas.