Famous for dishes that highlight quinto quatro, the “fifth quarter” or oft-ignored parts of an animal, Rome sounds like my kind of town. Alla vaccinara is old Roman for “butcher’s style” and no other cut could be more appropriate for such a designation than oxtail. Unappealing to most, a butcher would know that when properly prepared, oxtail can be much more enjoyable than pricey ribeye or tenderloin.
Unlike other offal that hide behind cutesy names (sweetbreads for thymus glands, adidas for chicken feet, rocky mountain oysters for uh, cow “berries,” and soup number 5 for see preceding item), oxtail is exactly what it sounds like. It is, in fact, the tail of an ox-slash-cow, so unless there’s a nuclear spill nearby, there’s only one small sliver per beast. I’m convinced, however, that the neighborhood meat counters rarely carry oxtail not because of low supply, but because the white-clad guys behind the counter keep it for themselves.
View Coda alla Vaccinara recipe »