Delicious Tuscan cured lardo seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices and aged for a minimum of 60 days.
Italian lardo is most unlike typical lard in the UK, which to most people is a fat used for frying or shortening.
Lardo in Italy, in particular Tuscany, is a true delicacy and one of the most delightful and refined of all Italian cured meats.
It is traditionally enjoyed sliced very thinly on just-toasted bread (see recipe below) but is also one of the great ingredients to have around the kitchen as it lends its unique flavours and aroma to so many dishes. It’s a classic chef’s secret and plays an integral part in the preparation of many haute cuisine recipes.
So why not add a little exquisite magic to your cooking too! (See below for some suggestions).
How is it made?
This lardo is prepared following a traditional process from the beautiful Elsa Valley area just south of San Gimignano near Siena in Tuscany. It is very similar to the more famous (and more expensive) Lardo di Colonnato and cured with the same ingredients and skill.
Pork fat from the shoulders and back is cut into flat strips and seasalt crystals, aromatic herbs including freshly ground black pepper, fresh garlic, coriander, rosemary and sage and spices are massaged in. No additives or preservatives are used. It is left to cure for a minimum of 2 months while all its distinctive fragrance and revered flavours are gently absorbed. After curing it is so tender it melts in the mouth.
What’s it like?
Our lardo has a nice rustic appearance, white with pinkish hues and an external layer covered in spices.
It has a distinct yet delicate fragrance which is defined by the aromatic herbs and elevated by the spices. Subtle and fresh tasting with a lovely initial sweetness which is followed by multiple layers of flavour which have absorbed during aging. Delicious!
|HOW TO USE – SUGGESTIONS
Lardo from the Elsa Valley is a special ingredient to be eaten on its own or used to add a unique flavour to many other recipes including starters, pasta sauces, meat and fish dishes.
On its own, remove the rind and any salt residues and cut into very thin slices. It can be then served on small pieces of hot toast crostini (see recipe below) or as a bruschetta with fresh sliced tomatoes and onion. Some restaurants on the Italian coast will add an anchovy too.
In the same way it can be added to pizza or bread croutons.
It will impart its refined flavours on an omelette or even scrambled eggs.
Delicious as a seasoning for sauté vegetables.
This lardo will add something very special to all kinds of stews and soups. Bean soups are a classic from Tuscany which work perfectly with lardo.
Lardo is delicious also added to vegetable soups or mixes vegetable recipes.
Use it to brighten up the flavour of your pasta sauce.
Add it to all kinds of risotto recipes for a sophisticated twist.
Delicious in all kinds of salads – always gets people asking what is that lovely flavour?
Cured lardo works superbly well with lamb chops and rabbit and all poultry dishes.
It goes particularly well paired with fish.
A must-try gourmet taster is lardo with honey or melon. Delicious!
The salt and spices on the outside is great for seasoning roasts and grilled meats. You can also grill or boil the rind and use to flavour soups or vegetable dishes.
Once opened keep the cut end covered in foil (or a damp cloth) in the fridge. Thinly slice and discard the very end piece when you next use. It will keep for 2 to 3 weeks.
NB this is an artisan cured meat made by hand and weights may differ slightly.
Traditional Lardo della Val D’Elsa Bruschetta Recipe
Ingredients for 4 people:
1 clove of garlic
1 pinch of parsley
Salt and pepper
Very thinly slice the lardo, garlic and parsley and mix together.
Add the salt and pepper as desired and leave mix in the fridge.
Cut the bread into thickish slices and toast. Once ready, immediately spread the lardo mixture and serve.
This preparation for lardo can also be used to flavour soups and mixed boiled vegetables.