No, it’s true! Despite the demonic titles, both of today’s selections are legitimately delicious, a combination that, despite divergent sources, pair well. Deviled Beef Short Ribs and Salad with Devil’s Rain Dressing only sound diabolical, but they taste, well, glorious. It’s Halloween after all, meaning a shiver or two are in order, but first and foremost, the palate must be thrilled. Always, always.
Today’s meal easily accomplishes that goal, starting with Deviled Beef Short Ribs as presented in the Cook’s Country Cookbook. The beef enjoys a double enhancement, first glazed in a tangy mustard sauce, then coated in parsley-flecked bread crumbs. These seal in the juices, ensuring a meltingly tender cut of beef. Of course, mustard also matches beautifully with beef ribs, and that charmed combination is given even more attention as extra mustard sauce is served alongside, much to the beef’s delight.
The salad comes by way of a by-now familiar source, the Nero Wolf Cookbook. It’s one of the many creations chef Fritz Brenner prepares for fortunate residents and guests in Nero Wolfe’s well-appointed brownstone. As imagined by author Rex Stout, of course, himself quite the gourmet. “Devil’s Rain” sounds intense, doesn’t it? It’s only mildly spicy, actually, even when set against the greens’ cool lushness. A slight kick, but certainly nothing worthy of Old Scratch’s title.
One of its main components is ground walnut, carrying the spice aloft on savory smoothness. An additional note – what we commonly call “walnuts” are actually walnut halves, one of two parts within each shell. Here’s such a duo, making up, between them, one walnut:
Also, make note of the special cutlery, forged just for Halloween. Greater detail of one of today’s utensils:
A wickedly creepy setting, particularly when used to serve up two devilishly good creations. Relax, though. The Devil had nothing to do with this, other, perhaps, than to inspire the titles. Stirrings of spiciness are as close as we’ll get to his flames. Still, it thrills just a bit to imagine the possibilities, particularly on “Devil’s Night” and all. Even when a full stomach and contented memories of a great meal put one in mind of something a little closer to Heaven.
Deviled Beef Short Ribs
- 2/3 cup yellow mustard
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1/3 packed cup light brown sugar
- 2 jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
- 4 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1-and-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (*1)
Place oven rack at the middle position and preheat oven to 325°. Combine yellow mustard, orange juice, jalapeños, dry mustard, lemon juice and 2 teaspoons black pepper in a food processor. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds, and set aside.
Combine 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon pepper and cayenne in a bowl. Cover ribs all over with the rub, then place them, meat side down, on a baking tray. Cover tray tightly with aluminum foil and cook until the meat is nearly tender, about three hours.
Place a medium skillet over a medium-high flame and add the butter. When melted, add the panko and cook, stirring often, until golden-brown, about three minutes. Off the flame, stir in the parsley and lemon zest, then transfer to a shallow dish.
Remove the baking tray from the oven and increase the temperature to 425°. Discard the juices from the tray. Brush the meat (but not the bone!) with a quarter of the mustard sauce and return the ribs to the tray, meat side up this time. Roast, uncovered, until meat begins to brown, about ten minutes.
Brush the meat with a third of the remaining sauce and roast in oven for another ten minutes. Transfer ribs to a serving platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and set aside for 15 minutes.
Brush meat once more with half the remaining mustard sauce and roll in panko mixture, taking care to coat all the meat. Serve, with remaining mustard sauce in a dish alongside.
1 – Cilantro, if you please. A much better option than is bitter parsley!
Salad with Devil’s Rain Dressing
For the dressing:
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 10 walnuts, shelled and roasted
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
For the greens:
- 1 head each, curly endive, romaine and Bibb lettuce
- 1 small bunch cilantro
- 2 stalks celery, slice thinly on the diagonal
- 1/2 cup shredded carrot
- 2 small cooked beets, grated
Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender and process at low speed for 20 seconds. Take care not to over blend, as you want the dressing still to have a little texture.
Break the greens into pieces and divide among serving plates. Add the cilantro, celery and shredded carrot. Pour on the dressing and grate beets atop.