Health friends like their slices lean, but a real aficionado knows that all the flavour is in the fat. If that’s true, then lardo di Colonnata must be the acme of baconly delight. This Italian salume is pure backfat, at least 1 1/4-inches (3 cm) thick, cured with salt and herbs. Colonnata is a district of Carrara, where the beautiful white marble of which much of Rome is built was quarried. Traditionally the lardo is cured in tanks made of Carrara marble. The sight of a slab of pure backfat, nestling in a tub of blinding white marble, might well have greeted Michelangelo when he nipped into the quarry for a lump to carve his David.
Excerpt taken from Charcuterie from Scratch by Tim Hayward
1 Large Piece of Fat from the Back of the Pig’s Neck; it needs to be a good 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
1 1/8 lb. (500 g) Salt
3 Juniper Berries, crushed
Trim the fat of any shreds of meat and pare away the skin.
Lay two or three disposable wooden chopsticks in the bottom of a non-reactive dish, then bury them in a layer of salt seasoned with the thyme and juniper berries.
Lay the fat on top of the salt layer and cover it thickly with more of the seasoned salt. The fat will not yield quantities of liquid like meat, so, the chopsticks are usually sufficient to keep the meat in contact with the dry salt and raised out of any pooling moisture.
Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge, turning, pouring off the liquid and re-bury every could of days. After 10-14 days the lardo should be ready to eat – slice it very thinly while still at fridge temperature, then eat it draped on grilled (broiled) bread on which you’ve rubbed a cut clove of garlic – but the Italians leave it much longer. Cured backfat has an excellent shelf life, much extended by modern refrigeration, but I’ve never managed to keep a piece in my fridge for more than a fortnight without eating the lot.
This recipe and information contained within it is an excerpt taken from Charcuterie from Scratch by Tim Hayward
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Keywords: Lardo, Pork Fat, Fat, Cured Fat