26 October 2011

Better Than Bacon. Yeah, I Went There.

Guess what this is!

Yes, it does look like an octopus, but it's not. Guess again.

Now do you know?

Hmmmmm....what could it be?

Lardo!!!

No, I’m not calling you fat. These are slices of lardo, which is fat taken from the top of a pig’s back and then cured with sea salt, clove, nutmeg, white pepper, black pepper, rosemary, bay leaf, and coriander. Silky and succulent, sliced so thinly that it dissolves on your tongue in seconds, it leaves your mouth coated with an herbal luxuriousness that even bacon cannot rival. If you know any vegetarians, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to feed them this product, since there’s no meat in it whatsoever. Just fat, la la la.

The dude behind the counter explained that his favorite way to serve lardo is to lay an entire slice on a hot piece of toast so it can melt into the bread. I decided that my preferred method is to lay the entire slice right on my tongue and roll it around in my mouth for a bit, all the while savoring how full and wonderfully rich my life is at that particular moment, and how there is no place in the world I’d rather be than standing in front of the fridge, hiding from my children, and sucking on pieces on fatback from an acorn-fed Iberico pig imported from Spain.

Bonus: You don’t need chapstick or moisturizer for at least a week.

And if you can spare some extra, it’s a good treat for getting babies to do tricks:

video


Oh! I almost forgot to tell you where you can purchase this fine substance. We picked ours up at Panozzo’s Italian Market in the South Loop. You can also order it directly from La Quercia, a company in Iowa that produces award-winning artisan salumi. My Christmas present to myself is going to be a tub (or three) of Iowa White Spread from La Quercia, which is basically lardo that is whipped up and smooshed into a tub. Personally, I think 'Meat Butter' has a better ring to it than 'Iowa White Spread.' Well, almost everything has a better ring to it than 'Iowa White Spread.' Then again, the more I say 'Iowa White Spread' to myself, the more catchy it becomes.
I can't wait for my Iowa White Spread. Luckily I have lardo to hold me up in the meantime! Phew.

3 comments:

shanehalbach.com said...

Nooooooooo!!

Ugh, blech, ptooie!

Lardo is THE WORST! Ugh!

I accidentally ordered lardo from non-English speaking waitress on a tiny island in Italy after she described it as "like bacon, but not." "Good enough for me!" I thought. When the lardo came out to the table I thought, "No, no, this isn't want I ordered. I ordered bacon. Worst case scenario, ham." When I looked back in the menu and noticed it was called "lardo", it all became clear to me.

I tried choking the stuff down with table bread in some kind of lard sandwich, but I was literally gagging every few seconds. I felt like I was on Fear Factor or something. It was the single worst thing I have ever eaten in my life. (Well actually, it's tied with some kind of intestine sausage I had in Paris, but that was only a small bite, not a whole plate full.)

Erielle said...

Yessssssssssss!
You will eat your lardo and you will like it. Was it the texture? The taste? Maybe there wasn't enough herbs or salt and it just tasted like fat?
I think you should just try it again. Do it!

shanehalbach.com said...

I don't believe there were any herbs in it. The texture was probably part of it, but I think it was definitely the taste.

Actually, it was not the worst dish at that meal. Sara had "fish from the lake" ravioli, which turned out to be perfectly good cheese ravioli in a very unappealing fish sauce. Sara is adamant that fish should never be made into a sauce.

I could possibly be persuaded to try lardo again, but I surely would not pay money for the privilege!