Aaron Rocchino owns The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley, California.
I’m a firm believer that good food takes time, and this corned beef recipe is a demonstration of that. It calls for a 12-day cure, which brings out the best texture and flavor from a piece of grass-fed beef. Sometimes I use brisket, the classic corned beef cut, but it has a lot of interior fat that doesn’t render out in the cooking. It’s good for sandwiches, where it’s sliced thin and you get a little fat and lean in every bite. But for St. Patrick’s Day, when you want to serve slices of corned beef on a plate, I go with the eye of round, a leaner cut from behind the upper leg. If you plan to serve cabbage with your corned beef, poach it in the strained broth after the meat’s done. Same with small, skin-on potatoes, a starchy variety like butterballs or Yukon Golds. Chopped flat-leaf parsley adds a nice green, springy flavor, or mix parsley with grated lemon zest, like a gremolata without garlic. Serve whole-grain mustard on the side. Whatever you do, don’t make it look too fancy—corned beef and cabbage is a rustic dish. Leftovers make great sandwiches. Heat any leftover broth and serve it on the side, French dip–style.
What to buy: I use fine sea salt rather than coarse kosher salt since it measures out more accurately by volume. For the curing salt (essential for preserving the beef’s rosy color) I use Insta Cure No. 1, which is salt with 6 percent sodium nitrite. Buy it online (maybe go in on a bag with friends), or see if you can buy a small amount from your local butcher.
To poach the corned beef: