I am a cheek man. Pig, cow, skate, doesn’t matter to me, its cheeks are the nuggets I most adore. They appeal to my lazy side, being easily portionable and neat, and they appeal to my Yorkshire side, being cheap. A skate’s cheeks are known as knobs, by the way, so if you encounter them on a restaurant menu or in your fishmonger, don’t be alarmed. You won’t be noshing anything priapic. (Milt, on the other hand…)
But I digress. This week it was ox cheeks. In the panoply of meat cuts they are among the finest – outrageously flavoursome, spectacularly gelatinous (and thus most gleefully slow-cooked), and extraordinarily handsome. So handsome you could bung a creepy old man wig and mid-90s rocker beard on one and call him Brad Pitt.
It would be a weird thing to do.
Less weird, more conducive to dinner, is to do the following recipe, which takes about 15 minutes of your time and will be the talk of the town, or at least your home, for many years to come.
Do this a day or two ahead if you like – the flavour will only improve – and serve with mashed potato or, as I did, celeriac and horseradish purée and a few greens.