I remember the day, the people, the restaurant, and even the weather the very first time I ever tried Lardo. I was on a whirlwind trip through Tuscany and my friend and guide took me to one of the best restaurants in which I have ever had the pleasure to dine. The place was Villa San Michele in Fiesole, Italy, situated on the wooded hills overlooking the city of Florence. The weather was cold; the slow winds gave a chill to the air, but the small plate of near transparent shaved pieces of cured hog’s fat kept both my soul and body warm.
Cured meats are one of my favorite things. There is so much story, care and love behind every salumi, prosciutto and sausage. I finally decided to try and produce some of my own cured creation, and what better place than with Lardo.
Here I used beautiful pieces of Berkshire hog back fat, pure white cuts of pork fat covered in a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic, sugar, bay leaves, and thyme. I skinned each piece, not the easiest of tasks, and then placed each one in an airtight bag. From there all I had to do was wait, and wait, then wait some more…
While I was, and still am waiting, I started playing around with my second favorite cured meat, prosciutto. We have all had prosciutto before, either with melon, on a charcuterie plate, or right off the leg but I wanted to do something different.
I have made prosciutto crisps before, but why not take that beautiful crunch and salted meat flavor and change up the form? So I made prosciutto cones, tasty crunchy treats of salty meaty goodness. But I needed something to put into the cones, so I tried several different fillers. My favorite was either the melon ice cream, or the balls of melon tossed in date honey then placed on top of the cones. Both were a perfect spring time expression of the Italian classic.