Ok so the idea of serving up what look like dinosaur bones to friends might seem a bit weird, but these underused cuts you can get from the butcher (for practically nothing) deserve to be more than dog scraps. Marrow is pretty much just fat, which means these bones are super rich – one per person as an entrée is heaps. You also don’t need to add very much to them, just find a balance of accompaniments with enough acidity, sharpness and crrrrrunch to contrast the marrow itself.
This recipe (adapted from fergus henderson’s the whole beast: nose to tail eating) is for our friend candice who is a kickass girl and shares a love of eating weird stuff. She is definitely the only person we know whose eyes get a faraway look when describing a dish made with the spinal marrow of a lamb. We love you, you crazy kid.
(one section of bone per person,
for six people)
2-3 beef or veal marrow bones,
cut into 4-5cm segments
small bunch of parsley
1 fennel bulb
squeeze of lemon juice
a few cornichons per person
handful of pistachios
sea salt flakes to serve
You might notice there aren’t any pistachios in the ingredients photo. Sorry ’bout that.
Clean all the sinew and meaty bits from the bones. You wanna french the crap outta them – if you’re feeling weird right now because you think we’re suggesting you do something unsavoury, just get your butcher to do it. Soak in cold, salted water for 12 hours, changing the water every four or five hours. This will draw any remaining blood out of the bones (there is more hidden away in there than you would think… marrow being the producer of red blood cells). We found the blood drained better at room temperature so don’t be tempted to put them in the fridge.
When they are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 220° celsius and roast upright on a foil-lined tray for 15-20 minutes. There is no need to season the bones before cooking – let your guests sprinkle some coarse sea salt on each mouthful at the table. The marrow will soften and expand slightly. It should be soft but not completely melted.
While the bones are roasting, make a salad of parsley leaves and shaved fennel dressed with lemon juice. Roast some pistachios and roughly chop. Serve the bones straight out of the oven with the salad, pistachios, cornichons, crusty bread and sea salt.