Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lardo di Colonnata

Il Bottaccio buys all of their pork products from La Bottega di Ado. This well-known butcher shop is the best in the area. Specifically, they are experts for making the famous Lardo di Colonnata. Colonnata, one of the smaller towns in this area (only 5 km from my house) is acclaimed for it's marble and of course lardo. The lardo is a prized cut, and the process though which they cure it truly makes it one of a kind. The pure fat comes from the layer of fat at the back of the big and a cut of the belly.

Once the pieces of meat are cleaned, they are placed in a large marble basin, the marble of comes from the area as well. The basins have been rubbed with garlic and herbs, when the fat is placed in the tub then it is covered in a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic, sage, and rosemary. They layer the lardo in a tub like that until it is completely full: salt mixture, lardo, salt mixture, lardo, salt mixture, etc. The tub is sealed with a marble slab. The fat stays here for 6 months until it comes out full of flavor from the long process of seasoning and melts in your mouth.

When the lardo is finally ready, it can be taken home and used in a number of ways. It comes in a large slab, so it is important to use a very sharp knife or a meat slicing machine to cut it into thin strips. At Il Bottaccio we place it on crostini for bruschetta, wrap it around prawns, and also blanket filets that we serve with a red wine reduction sauce. I've also had it on a pizza at one of the local ristorantes. Any way you serve it, it is a delicacy.

It's unlike anything I've had before. The buttery texture, salty taste, and subtle hint of herbs truly makes it irresistible. Plus this is the only place in the world true Lardo di Colonnata is made, and it's only 5 minutes from my Italian home!

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