Protein is often thought of as the star of the meal. But really the flavor is in the treasured juices that exude from the roasted meat. The meat is the vehicle. And sometimes the meat's quality dictates that it produces great juices and is itself a poor dining experience.
Tonight we roasted St. Louis ribs over a bed of vegetables: wax beans, green beans, and chunks of ripe tomatoes. We added a bit of white wine and the leftover sugo from cooking sausage with onions and fennel. The resulting vegetables were burnished a deep golden brown, chewy, and still tender in the center. And yet...there was something lacking in the flavor of the ribs. Something missing that was fully present in the every bite of the vegetables, swimming in harmonious juices. We swiped slices of crusty baguette in the soupy liquid, softly chewed meltingly tender beans that tasted of earth and sun and grassy fields, and savored each drop of meaty elixir. As for the glorious ribs, while they appeared perfectly cooked they were dry and lacking flavor. They donated all their flavorful juices to the vegetables, leaving us to savor the sauce over the meat.