My boss once said to me, “You know, you are probably the most outwardly normal-seeming person who is actually completely batshit insane.” He said something on this order once a month or so, usually because I had said something heavily nerdy, such as reciting the first few lines of The Canterbury Tales in Middle English, or was eating something that he considered weird, such as raw corn on the cob or roasted bone marrow. Nothing like walking into the office and seeing your assistant chowing down on a hunk of cow bone.
Bone marrow is one of those divisive dishes. You either get it or you don’t. I’ve been trying to convert people to the gospel of marrow for years now, ever since I read about it in college and immediately went out to the local grocery store and to roast my own. “It’s like warm, gelatinous, beefy butter!” I would say. I would get weird looks.
Later, via Anthony Bourdain, I learned to pair my marrow with a parsley salad, dressed simply in lemon juice and shallots. Later still, I began experimenting with that salad and have landed on something a bit more peculiar, with a base of fig-infused white wine vinegar and minced preserved lemons for a citrusy kick. It cuts through the unctuous fattiness of the marrow perfectly.
Roasted Bone Marrow with Parsley Preserved Lemon Salad
Makes 2 servings.
6 center-cut marrow bones
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 small shallot, sliced very thinly or minced
1/4 preserved lemon, minced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, fig-infused if you can find it
1/2 cup parsley, leaves picked from stems
toast, salt, and pepper for serving
Heat oven to 450°F (230°C). Place the marrow bones in a roasting dish or baking dish that is large enough to hold them. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and place in the oven to roast for 15-18 minutes. They are ready when they’re sizzling all the way through and the marrow is starting to melt, but has yet to turn into a puddle.
In the meantime, whisk together the shallot, lemon, and vinegar and let it sit and get familiar for a few minutes. Just before the bones are ready to come out of the oven, toss with the parsley.
Serve with small spoons or knives for digging the marrow out of the bones, toast on which to slather it, and salt and pepper for sprinkling.
Music to cook by: Marrow [St. Vincent // Actor]