Oxtail With Cauliflower Foam And Truffle

This is a seemingly simple dish - just three main elements: oxtail, cauliflower and truffle. But don't be fooled by the simplicity of the dish, because in practice it's one that involves a lot of preparation and very precise execution to pull off. It also involves some expensive ingredients - so it's a dish reserved for the more experienced home cook. Known in Catalan as rabo de toro con espuma de coliflor y trufa, this dish was created by Carles Abellan at Comerç 24 in Barcelona.

Rabo de toro con espuma de coliflor y trufa

Ingredients (serves 2)

500g oxtail pieces
1 medium cauliflower
100ml cream
black truffle paste
1 large onion
2 carrots
1 stick celery
2 large tomatoes
bay leaf
black pepper
sunflower oil
truffle oil


The oxtail pieces are first tossed in a little flour seasoned with salt and pepper and then browned in a heavy pan. Sauté a mirepoix of onion, carrot and celery in a little sunflower oil until soft, chop and add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.

When the oxtail is caramelised, pour some boiling water into the pan, deglaze it and add the oxtail and juices to the pan with the mirepoix and tomatoes. Add rosemary, bay leaves and thyme and top up the water until everything is covered. Braise very gently for 3-4 hours until the meat falls off the bones like melting butter.

Leave the oxtails to cool in the braising liquor and then separate them from the cooked vegetables. Reduced the stock to a gravy, while stripping the meat from the bones and shredding gently. Once the stock is sufficiently syrupy, add the meat back into the reduced stock to coat it completely, allowing the two to blend into one rich, meaty amalgamation. Set the oxtail and stock aside.
Oxtail pieces

Best cauliflowerStrip the leaves from the cauliflower and then break it down into florets. Boil these softly in well-salted water until a knife runs smoothly through the stalk. Strain the florets carefully, removing all of the water.

Transfer the cauliflower florets to a blender and blitz, while gradually adding cream. Continue slowly until a porridge-like consistency is achieved.

Check for seasoning, adding salt as required, before passing the purée through a fine chinois. Allow to cool and then load into a siphon, charged with nitrous oxide.

Keep the siphon warm in a bain marie until ready for use.
The garnish for this dish is again a simple preparation, but one that makes an enormous difference to the final product. Blitz together a small quantity of good quality Italian black truffle paste with sunflower oil to create a semi-emulsified sauce.

To serve: Spoon some of the oxtail and stock mixture into one side of a round bowl plate and followed with the hot cauliflower foam ejected straight from a siphon to the other side of the bowl. Then spiral the black truffle sauce over the foam and add a dash of truffle oil to enhance the aroma.
Black truffle

This isn't a dish that's designed to shock or take you to the edge of your comfort zone. Quite the opposite in fact - it's warming, indulgent and sumptuous comfort food. You take a spoonful of the rich meaty oxtail, scoop up some of the fluffy cloud-like cauliflower foam with some of that intoxicatingly aromatic truffle and you've got heaven in a mouthful.