Veal Heart, Jedi Timing, and Bone Marrow. Cooking in Barbados with Chef Fergus Henderson

By
Arthur Bovino

"I received an award for Nose to Tail in Sweden, and the award I got, it was for common sense cooking, which as a name is so dull, but it is common sense cooking," noted Chef Henderson. "It took me a moment to think about it. When I got it I almost turned around, I didn’t want it. Once you hit an animal on the head it’s just courteous to eat it all. Beyond the textures, the flavors are boundless, and you can sort of… well, like last night I did the tongue. And some people seemed a bit like, 'Tongue!' But whether it’s served cold, hot, grilled, fried, and in a sandwich with tomato, and mustard… it's delicious. But we’re not doing tongue today. We're doing bone marrow."

The chef of St. John fame gives an offal demo at Sandy Lane during the 2010 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival.

Arthur Bovino

"I received an award for Nose to Tail in Sweden, and the award I got, it was for common sense cooking, which as a name is so dull, but it is common sense cooking," noted Chef Henderson. "It took me a moment to think about it. When I got it I almost turned around, I didn’t want it. Once you hit an animal on the head it’s just courteous to eat it all. Beyond the textures, the flavors are boundless, and you can sort of… well, like last night I did the tongue. And some people seemed a bit like, 'Tongue!' But whether it’s served cold, hot, grilled, fried, and in a sandwich with tomato, and mustard… it's delicious. But we’re not doing tongue today. We're doing bone marrow."

The chef of St. John fame gives an offal demo at Sandy Lane during the 2010 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival.

Arthur Bovino

"We have some parsley salad," Chef Henderson said. "And shallot, which… I find it very strange what some of these chefs do with the squares, the little squares of shallot. I’m sure if God wanted us to have these squares he would give you square vegetables. The way we use the shallot is to celebrate the vegetable. You get a carrot and chop it at home and the more you chop it the less there is. Here, it’s a beautiful shallot. We’re celebrating… the shallot. Then the parsley and capers. Capers have a flavor. Capers keep you on your toes."

The chef of St. John fame gives an offal demo at Sandy Lane during the 2010 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival.

Arthur Bovino

"Bones. The problem with bones is they’re erratic things. There’s the bone and then there’s the core. And the difference in size affects the cooking time, so it’s very hard to find an exact time. You just hold them and when you go, 'OW!' they’re done. Forty-five to fortyish minutes. It’s sort of… of a timing thing."

The chef of St. John fame gives an offal demo at Sandy Lane during the 2010 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival.

Arthur Bovino

"But the essence of the beast, the heart, hearts always express the essence of the beast. Duck heart, rabbit, I ate squirrel hearts once, and it was... I’m sure it’s very good for you as well because it has vey lean qualities. So we’ve marinated the heart in rum. I thought it would conjure up a warmhearted feeling. And suddenly I feel like I’m marinating in rum at the moment."

The chef of St. John fame gives an offal demo at Sandy Lane during the 2010 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival.

Arthur Bovino

"So we have the parsley salad, we scoop out the bone marrow, some coarse sea salt on your plate," said the chef. "Which is a way of saying, you should put on a bit of salt, and that’s it."

Photographers clicked away at the chef's composed plate of bone marrow, parsley salad, and toast. "The bone marrow is blushing," joked the chef.

The chef of St. John fame gives an offal demo at Sandy Lane during the 2010 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival.

Arthur Bovino

"Some time ago I used to cook in a dodgy nightclub cooking for dodgy people late at night. And one night I added some parsley to a dish and this one dodgy person I made the dish for said it was fantastic. He gave me a strange bit of advice, but it’s an interesting one and I’ll share it with you. 'When using peas,' he said, 'Wait until they’re in season, but then use frozen peas.' As a young chef, it was a turning point, it as like, ha!"

The chef of St. John fame gives an offal demo at Sandy Lane during the 2010 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival.

Arthur Bovino

"It has an amazingly tender quality," Chef Fergus Henderson noted as he handled a veal heart.

The chef of St. John fame gives an offal demo at Sandy Lane during the 2010 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival.

Arthur Bovino

"You can stuff your heart, braise it, it’s lovely. Braise your heart for a loved one, it’s heady, heady stuff. And we will make horseradish, a fiery horseradish to go with your heart. Something about having the dark heart and white horseradish, something happens. Well, maybe it’s just me."

The chef of St. John fame gives an offal demo at Sandy Lane during the 2010 Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival.

Arthur Bovino

Chef Henderson's veal heart with horseradish sauce.