Chef Mario Batali extols the virtues of braising with water and wine and uses fresh herbs to complete a dish. Chef Mario Batali extols the virtues of braising with water and wine and uses fresh herbs to complete a dish.
[MUSIC] Today we're going to make food, the word is perplexing to the staff so much so that they've decided to call it the pleasures of hidden Tuscany. It's actually the food of a place called la Garfgnana, which is you look at a map is no more hidden than the city of Florence, it's right there in the middle. [LAUGH] So, I have taken a pork leg, a raw ham, I've left a lot of the skin on it. The fat that goes underneath it is Superlative and delicious and will melt away. I have marinated it over night in red wine. What you should start cooking with is what you want to start drinking as soon as you possibly can, so. So I've taken those pork pieces, I've cut it into two or three inch pieces and we're gonna brown them. So now I'm gonna take a little extra virgin olive oil. Now I cook with extra virgin olive oil The best one you can get, this one is by Barilla, who I love. But it could be from anywhere. And most importantly, you just want it to have a really good flavor. So. In the browning phase, you can't overestimate the importance of actually browning it. That's gonna create the rich, deep intensity of flavor. Spend a lot more time on this than you normally do, it's worth it. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna strain out The marinade and we're gonna add a little bit of it, raw. [BLANK_AUDIO] And then we're gonna take the rest of that liquid and all that stuff just like so About a cup and a half of water. And we're using water right now a lot in my restaurants to deglaze the pans. It's less complex, and yet it sings more. I'm gonna add a cup of olives, toasted fennel seeds, which is the big spice here, and I'm gonna add about a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. Now, I'm gonna bring that to a full boil, covered Then I'm gonna lower the heat. Oh baby is that looking good. So there you go, there you get an idea of what's going on. There's that deep no stock, no brown chicken stock nothing. That's just the fact that we browned it really well, and we used that wine. I'm gonna lower that heat. I'm gonna just uncover it a little bit, because we want that liquid to reduce a little bit, that's going to intensify it's flavor. So this will allow those vegetables to kind of lose a little bit of their weight Their liquid will go down. It will create a thick, dense sauce. Now, when I make something in the restaurant business and I want it to be delicious, I'll put herbs in at the beginning and I'll put flavorings in at the beginnings. That will become pervasive throughout the entire liquid, particularly in a braise. Now what I like to do is create something that we call a hee-hee in the restaurant business. And in this case, the Hee Hee is just gonna be a little parsley and I'm gonna take a little raw onion and a little bit of those toasted fennel seeds and I'm gonna sprinkle it over that pork when it's done with just a little olive oil. And what that's gonna create is this super high note. If you listen to jazz or listen to music in general, There's a high hat, which is, ss, ss, ss, ss, ss, which has almost no bearing whatsoever until you realize that it's not there. And it's that high note, particularly, even in food, that makes something so delicious. And it's this that will do that. Two drops of that. [BLANK_AUDIO] Two drops of that. [LAUGH] What? Was there more than two drops? And what you're gonna do is you're gonna pile a couple of pieces like that on there. I'm gonna take some of those olives and that mire poix that was in there. And I wanna pile them right around the base. And then I'm gonna take a little bit of that hee hee and put a little bit of something like that on top of it. [BLANK_AUDIO] And that little salad will transform this dish into something, not twice as good, but just a little bit better. Because you're gonna taste all of those flavors to the fullest spectrum. From the raw to the totally muted and cooked. Of course, Italian gravy coming up. [LAUGH] A little drizzle like that. [LAUGH] Silence. And there's that dish. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC]