My friend Alice loves to eat, so nobody’s surprised that the girl can cook. She’s the sort who will spend an entire day slow-roasting beef brisket, if friends are coming for dinner. We were just happy to count ourselves among the chosen.

She started the early arrivals off with a plate of local cheeses, including a runny goat cheese from the Kitsap peninsula. The outliers straggled in, we moved to the table, and here it became clear that Alice had put on a clinic. There was a green salad with chopped beets, plus roasted potatoes and herbed carrots and parsnips, all procured from the winter farmers market. The main event was an innocent-looking piece of local Wagyu brisket that came out draped with onions so caramelized they were almost black, a thing so meltingly tasty that I ate it in slow motion to make it last. Dessert was a tarte tatin made with local apples. In fact, the only thing that had traveled any distance was the California wine we brought.

Alice claims that making this stuff is easy as pie. I think it’s the onions that do the heavy lifting. The recipe:

Recipe: Alice’s Roasted Brisket with Melting Onions

3 pounds beef brisket / 2 onions, sliced / 1 tsp balsamic vinegar / 12 oz. light beer / 1 bay leaf / chopped fresh thyme / salt & pepper

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Rub salt and pepper into meat. Heat vegetable oil on high in a heavy ovenproof pot and brown meat deeply on all sides, then remove and set aside. Place onions in pan and cook, stirring, until golden, about 8 minutes. Mix in balsamic vinegar. Pour in beer, add bay leaf and thyme, then scrape the brown stuff off the bottom and stir into beer. Return brisket to pot, scooping some of the onions on top of the meat. Cover tightly, place in oven, and roast until tender, about 3½ hours. Remove from oven and allow to rest for ten minutes, then slice against the grain, top with caramelized onions, and serve.

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