After a night of seafood (ok, even if it was a good amount of fried seafood, it's still seafood!), I was ready for some meat. I was at Savenor's recently and came across beautiful packages of these babies:
Yup, those are oxtail. In all their raw, meaty glory. Admire them, people!
On a whim, since I knew we had these gorgeous pieces of flesh in the freezer, I decided to pop into Market Basket to look for plantains. Full confession: I had never been in Market Basket. The parking lot for the one in Union Square (Somerville) was always so chaotic when I'd drive by that I was scared to go in. But I was inspired to pay my first visit thanks to Maggie at Eat Boutique, when she published her post on fried plantains. I hadn't cooked plantains in quite a while since the times I'd bought unripe ones at Whole Foods, they never ripened! I know some cultures eat plantains on the green side for more of a starchy taste, but I need mine ripe and tasting like a sweet but slightly savoury banana (I can't explain it any better, you just have to eat one).
Anyhow, at Market Basket, I was so pleased to find a big display of ripe plantains and at 79 cents for two, how could I go wrong? Now I was ready to make my mom's oxtail dish.
I grew up eating oxtails, so they don't freak me out, but it is a little disconcerting to think you're essentially gnawing on a cow's vertebrae. However, it's the part of the anatomy that contributes to the deliciousness of the dish - braising this cut for a few hours essentially melts the collagen and makes the meat incredibly rich, though from a practical standpoint, oxtail is incredibly hard to eat.
Why are these innocent-looking pieces of meat such a pain in the ass to eat? Let me show you a picture - unfortunately I forgot to a picture of our carnage, but I found a nice example over at the blog Simple Seoul Food:
|from Simple Seoul Food blog|