rouladen


so it got done. the rouladen as requested. it was dark, at five, when i started the dish, no real chance of taking pictures. the flash on my phone makes things look, well, just like the flash on my phone. so no pictures.
but...
the beef had been cut at a quarter of an inch by our local edelweiƟ butcher, it was perfect. a nice slice of top of the top-round, layered with what minaele would have me arrange it as, so like this: meat on the bottom. paper thin slices of cipollini onion to cover. same thinness dill pickles. parma prosciutto, two slices - end to end, an eight inch thick. mustard slathered. a lot of pepper, some salt. rolled it up, stuck it shut with short skewers. made two. browned the rolls on all sides fairly dark in olive oil and butter, added wine and the secret ingredient: a generous cup of nocino. this walnut liqueur we had made ourselves on san giovanni day, june 24 this year. it has ripened, beautifully so, as we set it up that day from walnuts at my friend sumner stone's orchard. under foot crushed, green (unripe) walnuts, vodka, various flavorings, like this, more or less:

no grappa, but stoli. less cinnamon. more vanilla. much more fennel. added juniper berries. no mace. bottled up, it sat in portland's hot sun (we had a lot of it this summer, all the way into fall) until the rains started, then strained and decanted. it sat around just about till now. the best ingredient for today.
after darkly browning, the rolls were under cover on low for two hours. a little less, may be. set them aside and reduced their liquid by half, a tiny amount of flower made the perfect, pitch black sauce to spoon over the rouladen. pitch black, because the wine and the nocino produced a saucy medium, full of flavor, and of a deep black. as a side i had stewed fennel and plump buttery mushrooms. it went over well, and stephanie's request for a little quince jam rendered the dish perfection. if you won't mind my saying so. can't help it, if you do.