OK, I caved in today and went back to Whole Foods for their Wellshire Farms corned beef brisket at $8.99/lb – a piece weighing just over 3.5 lbs running $31.87. After reviewing the options at other markets, I could not in good conscience prepare a meal made with factory-farmed meat or chemical goo, so while it’s pricey, it’s going to be damn good in every respect.
I may be the only person in Hanover and surrounding towns making a corned beef brisket without cabbage, carrots, potatoes, or Irish soda bread, and said as much to the kindly employee of WF who courteously carried my grocery bag out to the car for me in the pouring rain, where Cicero had been waiting patiently just after his annual check-up with the vet (all good there, my sweet boy).
For tonight’s dinner, I turned the clock back to the ’80’s when Silver Palate’s glazed corned beef was a common choice in my repertoire. After simmering the brisket slowly and partially covered for 3 hours to fork-tenderness, it’s then drained and baked at 350 in a coating of 1 cup Seville Orange Marmalade mixed with 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup Dijon mustard. The original recipe says 30 minutes, but I let it go longer, turn it over to get the fat side and the lean side exposed, and finish it off by turning up the broiler element for about 3 minutes with the fat side exposed. So here’s how it looks while it cools for slicing.
There was a significant flap of fat atop this piece, which I pared down to its bare minimum after braising and before baking. Will be slicing it thinly on the bias to serve with French Potato Salad and store-bought summer slaw (yeah, it’s cabbage) from Hannaford’s (really quite good).
The potato salad is cooling now, and will have the requisite bacon bits added just before we serve shortly. This is another Silver Palate Recipe. I used 4 medium red-skinned potatoes weighing about 1-1/4 lbs. Cut them into smallish cubes and boiled about 9 minutes in salted water until tender. While this was happening, I cooked 1/4 lb of cut-up bacon, reserved the bacon bits in the bowl you see, and then sauteed 1/4 cup minced shallots in the bacon fat. When the potatoes were done, drained and added to a medium bowl and, while still hot, poured over them 1/4 cup vinegar (mixture of white and red balsamic), 2 tbsp olive oil, the reserved shallots with the bacon fat, 1/4 cup minced red onion, and a handful of chopped Italian parsley. S&P to taste, stirred gently, and now watching those potatoes absorb all the lovely flavors. Will add the bacon bits at serving time.
And it turned out just as I’d hoped – tender, moist, and perfect with the sides.