My love for Lardo started while traveling in Rome where we had the worlds most decadent Charcuterie plate. I’ll be honest, when I first saw Lardo, my immediate reaction was gross! Is that a slice of fat? Why yes, yes it is and it’s freakin’ delicious.
Since I’m an adventurous eater I quickly discovered this umami butter bomb is worth the extra time on the treadmill. It’s also now one of my favorite economical and frankly sneaky little secret flavor enhancers for roasting anything from bread to veggies to meats. Roasting melts Lardo almost completely, so if you don’t tell anybody, they won’t know why your veggies taste so damn good!
What Is Lardo?
Lardo would be the only thing on the planet to make Homer Simpson give up bacon. A traditional Italian food, Lardo is pork back fat salt-cured between slabs of Carrara marble. Before pressing the fat between the marble, Lardo is typically rubbed with garlic and spices or herbs. Traditional herbs include rosemary, sage and oregano while spices are typically coriander, anise and cinnamon (Paolo’s least favorite ingredient in the world!) It’s then left to age for six months. That time between two slabs yields an unctuous, silky block of thick, sliceable fat. In other words, Lardo is not for the faint of heart.
How to Use Lardo
After first trying Lardo slices on a Charcuterie plate in Rome, I was instantly hooked. By the time we left Rome and arrived in Northern Italy nearly two months later, I had a proper kitchen and a bad craving for Lardo.
Well, one thing led to another and Lardo was bought at Eataly. I’m not going to say by who. Ok, yes, yes it was me. I know, I know! First I tried roasting bread with Lardo. I know it’s not traditionally Italian but good lord is it a treat.
Which lead me to experiment a bit more with roasting inexpensive ingredients with Lardo, which lead me to this! I’d say you’re welcome… but if this leads you to try Lardo for the first time, you might simultaneously love and curse me. So instead I’ll say Buon Appetito!
Roasted Eggplant, Heirloom Tomato & Mozzarella With Lardo & Fresh Herbs
- 2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs Try: Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano
- 4 Strips of Lardo
- 1 Medium Eggplant sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
- 1 Heirloom Tomatoes sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
- 8 oz Fresh Mozzarella sliced into 1/4 Inch rounds
- Preheat oven to 400
- Layer alternate slices of eggplant, mozzarella and tomato in an oven safe baking dish
- Place baking dish in oven for 30 minutes
- Remove and sprinkle fresh herbs evenly over the layers
- Lay strips of Lardo evenly spaced over layers
- Place dish back in oven for 10 minutes or until the Lardo melts
- Remove from oven and prepare yourself with fork
- Fight for the last bite
Lardo in Portland, Oregon
Years later, when Paolo and I moved to Portland, Oregon and drove by a restaurant called Lardo, you can imagine we couldn’t pass it up!
- Best Sandwiches in Portland, Oregon - What is Lardo? Well, that’s a fun question! Let’s see… Lardo: Pork fat back cured with salt, spices, and herbs. Charcuterie plate hero Homer Simpson would trade bacon in for. Politically incorrect 90’s slang used by bullies to refer to “weight challenged” peers. Also, my new favorite sandwich spot in Portland. Where to Eat in Portland After our […]