I love Fergus Henderson. Who doesn’t? He is a legend in nose to tail cooking and by all accounts a hilarious and stand up guy. Perhaps his most famous dish is also his simplest, roasted bone marrow and parsley salad and is stuff of legend. Anthony Bourdain lists it as his last meal and there are many Nose to Tail At Home cooks that roll it out to impress guests. Certainly roasted bone marrow is amazingly delicious with beefy unctuousness. We loved it as part of the opening salvo of our New Year’s Eve dinner, but when I got my hands on a couple of marrow bones, I wanted to try something just a little different.
I started with a few Dietzler shanks from Butcher and Larder to be smoked for chili and very carefully cut the bones from the shanks. Almost immediately, I recalled a post by Ruhlman where he described a marrow preparation that he had at Michael Symon’s Cleveland restaurant, Lola. At Lola, the marrow was extracted from the bones and fried.
First, I soaked the bones in salt water to get some of the impurities and blood out of the marrow. I changed the water every twelve hours for three days and on the last day, the bones were soaked in hot tap water for 5 minutes. After soaking, I pushed the marrow out very carefully. One bone was a perfect cylinder, which meant easy removal, and the other, well, was not and was a little more tricky. A little effort and some patience went a long way to get the marrow out.
Then, I soaked the tubes of marrow in salt water over night. The pieces of marrow were very firm and resembled the texture of extremely cold butter. Since the pieces were slightly larger than the marrow pieces that appeared in the picture from Ruhlman, I decided to section the marrow pieces from two pieces to four.
From here, the process was just pan frying. I dusted the marrow pieces with flour only and fried them in canola oil. There is a balance in the heat used to fry. To hot and they burn, but too low and the marrow melts before they get brown. Per Ruhlman’s tip, I finished the marrow in butter.
We ate the marrow bones with pickled red onions and a parsley salad with shallots as well as lemon zest and juice. With the richness of the marrow with the fry method, the tartness in the pickled onions and the freshness in the parsley salad were both great counterpoints. The marrow had a crispy exterior with an interior that was almost completely molten. The marrow was incredibly beefy, just as in Henderson’s roasted bone marrow, but with the crispy exterior and the molten interior its is an interesting twist.