Victor and I had a most succulent dinner today, but anyone who would ask what I cooked would be dismayed by the answer: boiled beef. Why does the word boiled turns people off? If they are really boiling something they prefer to call it steamed, although usually they are doing exactly the same thing. In Italy if you want to brag, just say “ho fatto il bollito“, “I made boiled meats”. Yes, I did.

Someone asked for a recipe. It is on page 407 of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, a recipe for a crowd. You can use the same procedure for a small quantity of meat, as I do when Victor and I dine alone.  I also make a salad of cold leftover boiled beef. In my version (page 260 Marcella Says) I also put capers, anchovy, basil, garlic, and olive oil.  I can see one of the trendy New York restaurants waking up to what a good thing it is and listing “water-poached short ribs and marrow with cren and peperonata” on its menu, which would be picked up by one of the Times’ Wednesday dining section scribes, and then it would take off.