October 31, 2002

I enjoy a good roast now and then. While Carl and I know perfectly well that we should really get around to making friends with a local butcher -- so that we can request cuts not commonly found at Pathmark, for getting great quality and freshness, and hopefully a free marrow bone now and then -- we are cursed with sloth. We dislike food shopping, which is a horrible affliction for people who love to eat, and do it as rarely as possible. Our problem stems from a combination of not wanting to leave the house and not having enough disposable income to buy the things we really want (i.e., D'Artagnan meats, smoked salmon, exotic cheeses). So typically, we brace ourselves once every few weeks and drive to the Fresh Grocer for Real Food Shopping. The rest of the time, we pick up fresh ingredients every once and a while at the grocery down the street, the local vegetable store, Fish & Coffee (guess what they sell?), and, if we're feeling very energetic, Reading Terminal Market.

With that explanation in mind, I hope you, gentle reader, will not be too shocked to hear that we bought a nice-looking roast at the plain old supermarket the other day. It did really look quite nice, an eye roast with a decent amount of fat. As we've done before, we aged the roast in the fridge for a few days before cooking it (I know this sounds scary, but trust us and Alton Brown on this one).

As per the Good Eats recipe, we smeared it all over with oil, salt, and pepper, roasted it in a big Le Crueset dutch oven (sorry, no flowerpots here) at 250 degrees for a few hours, then cranked it up to 500 to "develop a nice crust." While I'm still unconvinced that the crust development in a 500 degree oven is as crispilicious as that obtained via searing in a hot pan, the oven method does indeed keep the inside of the roast from overcooking. And, because the meat was aged for a bit, the outside was somewhat dry and crust-like even before we put it in the oven.

In the end, while I was hoping for a slightly more memorable crust, the roast itself turned out pretty well. It was evenly cooked all the way through (though closer to medium than to rare, but that's our own fault for keeping it in the oven a bit too long), pretty juicy, and delicious served with some pan gravy built off the drippings. Furthermore, the next day it makes a fantastic sandwich with some horseradish cheddar.