Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

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Entries in vinny dotolo (2)


Marrowbone, Caramelized Onions, and Chimichurri

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a huge fan of Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook, the chefs at Animal in Los Angeles. They showed me that not only do I love pork, I love the bits of pork I never even considered. Their Fried Pig Ears with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette rocked my world.

I was thrilled when I bought the Made in America: Our Best Chefs Reinvent Comfort Food cookbook last month (by Lucy Lean) to find they had contributed another bit of unexpected deliciousness to the mix. Bone Marrow, anyone?

I never knew how much I loved bone marrow until the first time I tried it while staging at the Herbfarm in Woodinville. One of the chefs made French Dips for family meal one night, served with fried bone marrow chips. They were orgasmic. Since then I’ve been a bone marrow pig. (I don’t know why it’s so hard to diet in this house.)

This recipe isn’t very complicated, but does involve some work a day ahead to get the marrow ready. Not a ton of work—you just need to salt them overnight. Calm down. We always have caramelized onions in the fridge (see above regarding difficulty dieting), so the actual assembly is pretty quick.

In my last post I talked about my fun day last month with Matt Wright, working on food styling and photography. This was one of the four dishes we prepared and it was the unexpected surprise in the mix. It is absolutely, spectacularly delicious. Creamy, beefy marrow with sweet caramelized onions and zingy chimichurri. How could you not love this? Well, unless you're vegetarian. Or vegan. Or stupid.

This cookbook already contains many anal-retentively filed bookmarks and references for me to come back and try other recipes. Usually, a cookbook needs 3 or 4 good recipes for me to buy it. Made in America far surpasses that. I’m always rambling on about not dumbing down restaurant recipes. This one doesn’t. It’s the real deal.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. 

Marrowbone, Caramelized Onions, and Chimichurri

Adapted from Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of Animal, Los Angeles



3 center-cut veal marrowbones, 6 inches long, split down the middle (6 halves)

NOTE FROM MARC: My butcher was not able to cut the bones when I came in, so I bought bones cut vertically. They still worked as intended so don’t get too hung up on the size. (Mark this date as the first time those words have come out of my mouth)

Chimichurri Sauce:

1 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh oregano

1 whole jalapeno (leave some seed and membrane for heat), worked to a paste

¾ cup distilled vinegar

7 cloves garlic, worked to a paste

1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil


Caramelized Onions:

1 ½ tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 small diced white onions

To Serve:

Chimichurri Sauce

4 tablespoons Caramelized Onions

6 pieces Marrowbone

6 slices pain de mie or good quality white bread (NOTE FROM MARC: As always, you can make this gluten free by omitting the bread and replacing it with a large piece of tree bark)

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

Serves 6

To Prepare the Marrowbones:

  1. Heavily salt the marrowbones the day before and refrigerate for about 20 hours.
  2. The next day, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Wash off the marrowbones and pat dry.
  4. Place the marrowbone, uncovered and face up, on a sheet pan. Transfer to the oven for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the size, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Farenheit all the way through.

To Make the Chimichurri Sauce:

Combine all the ingredients in a nonreactive bowl, and set aside.

To Make the Onions:

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the grapeseed oil; it should slide across the pan with ease. Add the onions. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until the onions start to become translucent. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the onions are deeply caramelized, about 30 minutes.. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Use immediately or refrigerate.

To Assemble and Serve:

  1. Heat the caramelized onions in a pan until hot.
  2. Meanwhile, cut six 2-inch slices of pain de mie (or bark), butter both sides of the slices, and toast in a pan over medium heat. Remove the marrowbones and divide among six plates. Divide the caramelized onions equally among the six marrowbones and spoon on top of each. Spoon some chimichurri sauce on top of the caramelized onions. Cut the toasted pain di mie in half diagonally and place to the side of the marrowbone.


Fried Pig Ears with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette

Adapted from Primal Cuts, by Marissa Guggiana

I get it. Pig ears? Really? Gross, right? I thought so, too, until I took a business trip to Los Angeles and a friend took me to Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook’s brainchild, Animal. My buddy Steve told me, “You’re gonna love this place!” Fortunately, we’re both the types who will try anything once. Seeing pig ears on the menu creates an instant friendly “I will if you will” competition. Imagine my surprise when we not only tolerated the dish, but absolutely loved it! Crispy pig ears, braised past the point where the cartilage has a cringe-inducing crunch that makes your teeth slide sideways but still maintains some texture. Deep fry those suckers, toss them in a chile-lime vinaigrette and serve them hot with a fried egg, yolk running into the mixture. I dare you to find a more satisfying hangover cure (sorry, Dick's, this one beats the Deluxe).

When I got home from my trip, I tried calling and emailing the restaurant, and the woman who answered the phone firmly explained that they don’t share recipes. DON’T YOU HATE THAT?!?!? I tried winging it at home, looking up other pig ear recipes (one of which I will post later this week - Teague Ezard does a mean pig ear salad) and testing them out on my adventurous friends. They were good, but they didn’t touch the simple elegance of this version. Finally, I picked up Marissa Guggiana’s “Primal Cuts” cookbook, excited to see what artisan butchers around the country did with the meats they sold. I couldn’t have been happier when I got home and found my coveted pig ear recipe from Animal on page 121. All my hatred for the recipe-hoarding douche at Animal disappeared. 

I’ve made this 3 or 4 times now, and my only advice is that you do not need to braise the ears for 36 hours as the recipe states. I usually braise them for about 16 hours in a 225-degree oven. Braise them a little longer if you want less of that crunchy cartilage mouth-feel. (I know that’s not an appealing descriptor, but it’s accurate. Maybe this is why they haven’t been kicking my door down to offer me a job writing menus or working for Hallmark.) If the thought of pig ears grosses you out and you manage to suck it up enough to try this, please let me know what you think. I think you’ll be a convert. 

Fried Pig Ears with Chile-Lime Vinaigrette


2 lbs pig ears (most Asian groceries carry these in the meat section)

Frying Oil

Kosher Salt, to taste

4 Fried Eggs


1 ½ cups fresh lime juice, strained

1 cup chili garlic paste

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

¼ cup chopped green onion


  1. Clean pig ears of any extra hair. (Note from Marc—I’ve never purchased pig ears and noticed any extra bristles or hair. They typically come pretty well cleaned.) In a large pot, cover the ears in plenty of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 36 hours at a light simmer. (Note from Marc-Instead of the stove top method, I prefer braising uncovered in a 225 degree oven for 16-18 hours. In either case, be sure to check the water level every few hours and refill with hot water as needed.) Check occasionally to make sure the ears stay submerged in water. Skim the surface of the water occasionally. After 36 hours, take out the ears and lay them flat on sheet trays to cool.
  2. Mix all vinaigrette ingredients and set aside. Julienne ears 1/8 of an inch thick.
  3. Heat oil in a large deep skillet ro 360 degrees Farenheit. Fry ears for 3 ½ minutes, or until crispy. Place ears in a large bowl lined with paper towels. Season liberally with salt. Take out paper towels and toss in vinaigrette, coating the ears lightly. Serve with fried eggs.

 Serves 4.