Sky Full of Bacon

Lardoblogging: The Three-Month Mark

Read the beginning of this lardoblogging saga here.

After three months I started to get pretty curious about my lardo.  I mentioned it to Rob Levitt at Mado, saying I wasn’t sure how to tell when it was done, and he had a really novel suggestion: “Taste it and if it’s good, it’s done.”  (It was very kind of him not to end this sentence with “ya moron ya.”)

David Hammond was stopping by the other day so I took the opportunity to break the lardo out and try it, slicing it as thin as I could:

I toasted some bread and we both had a piece:

This is definitely the best thing to do with lardo, it softens up as it half-melts on the bread, though it never melts like butter, retaining a chewy, almost meat-like texture.

We both agreed that it was pretty nice as it was— supple, tasting of the salt, garlic and herbs. That it was hard to imagine what more it might pick up from another three months of laying in the salt mixture.  Somewhat impulsively, I decided it was done.  (I must admit I kind of regret this now, not sticking out the full six months, although I really do doubt it would have made a real difference.  Maybe packed into a true conca full of brine expressed by the fat, but this was just sitting on dry salt by now.)

I divided the lardo into two groups.  One I went ahead and vacuum-sealed into small bags, for presents or door prizes or whatever.  But the three largest pieces I took and wrapped in cheesecloth:

and hung from an old roasting pan rack in my wine cellar which, at least this time of year, should be as reliably cool as any Italian root cellar.  I may pick up a wine fridge sometime so I can ensure more precise control of more sensitive cured meats like the coppa I plan to make, but for this, which basically doesn’t have any meat, just fat, it’ll be fine (though humidity probably won’t be high enough, in the long term).

By the way, one of the problems serving lardo is that it can be tough to slice it thin enough to do the melting on bread thing.  But I discovered a cheap and perfect solution: use one of those new peelers that everybody has that you hold like a Gillette razor.  You get perfect thin slices.

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