After an afternoon making the impossible to pronounce Sfogliatelle (see previous post), I thought I would make something that was easier to pronounce - so I chose Hobz biz-zejt! Okay so maybe it wasn't easier to pronounce, however, it was about 100 times easier to make! It also was the perfect starter to the osso bucco main that I already had in the oven, and the sfogliatellle dessert that I was in the process of making to complete the Mediterranean feast.
Hobz biz-zejt, described as a Maltese open sandwich, and translated as bread with oil, makes a quick, but impressive starter to any meal.
Spread some thickly sliced, crusty bread with good quality tomato paste. Sprinkle with salted capers. Lay some white anchovy fillets on top of this. Make sure you use good quality white anchovies in vinegar and oil, not the regular salty ones. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with some continental parsley, and finish with a drizzle of good quality EVOO.
Although it was incredibly easy to make, the hobz biz-zejt really let the individual ingredients shine, whilst still tasting good altogether.
I love cooking 'set and forget' type meals like Osso Bucco, where you can do some basic prep, and then pop it in the oven and let it slow cook for a while, allowing you to do something else (and clean)!
Osso Bucco with risotto and gremolata
Adapted from Food Safari by Maeve O'Meara
2 Osso bucco pieces (veal or beef)
2 large brown onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250mL red wine (good quality so you can drink the rest)
2 tins of good quality crushed tomatoes
2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 cup of beef stock
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin Olive oil
Preheat oven to 160 deg celcius. In a large heavy based dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of oil, and gently brown the osso bucco. Remove once browned, and add the onion, anchovies, garlic and herbs and sweat for around five minutes. Turn heat to high, and deglaze the pan with the wine. Reduce until there almost all the wine had boiled off, and add the tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and add the shanks. Place the lid on and place in the oven for approximately three hours, or until the meat is tender and can be broken apart with a fork.
For the gremolata:
Finely chop 2 cloves of garlic, 2 good quality anchovy fillets, 2 tbsp continental parsley, and 1 tsp lemon zest. Combine well.
Serve the osso bucco on top of risotto, topped with the gremolata.