The other night we watched a holiday special featuring David Chang as one of the chefs preparing holiday dishes made from cuts of beef. His was the oxtail. Chris and I sat wide eyed and speechless, maybe drooling a bit. Coming from a Chinese family, it's not surprising I ate a lot of oxtail growing up. But I found it strange that Chris had done so as well. Those wild and crazy Canadians. We carry on the tradition, as our kids are quite the oxtail connoisseurs.
David Chang, becoming more my hero every time I see him in action, made a brilliant version of the braised oxtail. He roasted them first, then braised them in a pressure cooker with leeks, apple pear, apple juice, soy sauce and garlic. Then he deep fried them, reduced the cooking sauce, and braised them again. Later that evening, Chris walked into the room and said,"I love David Chang." I mean, not in the way that you'd, say, proclaim that you love vanilla ice cream. I mean in the way that if somehow I were out of the picture, he would find a way to develop a Felix Unger and Oscar Madison relationship with him. A good old fashioned bromance. This might be my choice for him as well... my kids would be well fed, that's for sure.
Fortuitously, I already had a package of oxtail in my refrigerator. Blinded by the awe of the deep frying portion of the recipe, I failed to go back and watch the episode to find out what other ingredients I needed. Missing were apple pears and leeks, which I substituted with pear, apple and scallions. I think we'll be okay.
1 whole head of garlic, cut in half
5 scallions, cut in half
2 cups apple juice
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
Sprinkle the oxtail with kosher salt. Roast in a 500f oven for about 10-15 minutes until deep brown. In a large cast iron pot combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer, covered, for about 2 to 2.5 hours, until tender. Flip and turn the oxtail a couple of times during the braising. Chang used a pressure cooker, but a regular pot will do just fine, just takes longer. Remove the oxtail from the cooking sauce, and drain. Continue to boil the sauce until reduced to more of a glaze consistency. Using a deep fryer or large pot of oil at 365f, fry the oxtail quickly. Drain on paper towels. Strain the sauce and braise the oxtail again for just a few minutes in the sauce.
I served the oxtail with crispy rice as I also did not have the rice cake noodles he used. Garnish with a blanched scallion and julienned apples. My frying oil was too hot resulting in too crispy of an outer layer. I left my oil thermometer at a friends' house and have yet to replace it. Winging it has its pitfalls. But still, it was divine and devoured.
I should leave you with the fact that Chang did his shopping in what looked to be an Asian quickie mart. Well on his way to hero status for sure.