Who knew this would be so simple and delightful! It is called lardo battuto, which means literally beaten lard. Not the sort you find in a block in the supermarket, and in fact never heated at all, but salted and cured lard-o pounded in a mortar with garlic and parsley. I just happened to find a casing filled with cured fat in the back of the cave. I must have made it this past winter. I became familiar with this kind of lardo (in print) through my old friend Bartolomeo Scappi, personal chef to Pope Pius V in the 16th century. He uses it in stuffings especially, and anywhere some extra fat and flavor can be used. Apparently in Italy it gets tossed into soup and stews. OH YES. I tried it on toast this morning, and let me tell you: imagine compound butter, but cured pig instead. Aromatic, unctuous, dizzying. Thanks to Miss Butter who prompted this line of inquiry. It's a thing I should have done years ago. Now let's just think where this might go. Maybe a dollop on a pork chop? For some odd reason I want to stuff a fish with it. Scappi must have done it. Bread crumbs, cheese and lardo battuto. I couldn't have come up with anything that magnificent.
Food Historian at the University of the Pacific.
Author of Eating Right in the Renaissance, Food in Early Modern Europe, Cooking in Europe 1250-1650, The Banquet, Beans (2008 IACP Jane Grigson Award) and Pancake. A cookbook with Rosanna Nafziger THE LOST ART OF REAL COOKING.
Coeditor of The Lord's Supper with Trudy Eden and Editor of A Cultural History of Food: The Renaissance.
Co-editor with Lisa Heldke of the journal Food, Culture and Society.
Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia (4 vols.) Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican and Chinese recently won the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Best Foreign Cuisine book in the World. The Routledge International Handbook to Food Studies is in print.
A sequel to the cookbook - entitled THE LOST ARTS OF HEARTH AND HOME.
Coming soon: Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food from Oregon State U Press, a little book on Nuts from Reaktion and a Food History Reader from Bloomsbury. Not to mention THE BEAST: The Food Issues Encyclopedia for Sage. Still in the works.