Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

I taught a class on meat-curing here on Saturday (we covered gravlax, guanciale, lardo, bresaola, duck prosciutto, and then had a tasting of everything, plus some bacon). It was well-attended, and I think people enjoyed it and took away some useful knowledge. And hoo boy is there a lot of salty meat in the fridge. I gave the curing salmon to some Boston friends to take home with them, but come dinner time there was an alarming lack of actual food ready to eat. So I took the big beef eye round (16″ or so) and cut 6″ off. This did two things: it meant that I could fit the remainder in a much smaller pyrex loaf pan to finish curing, and it gave me a pre-seasoned hunk o’ beef with which to make a quick and wondrous meal. The cure was salt, a bit of raw sugar, rosemary, garlic, thyme, juniper berries, and smoked paprika.

See that dark ring around the outside? That’s how far the cure penetrated in the few hours it sat after class. I very nearly just sliced it up like this and called it a night. But instead, inspired largely by the skillet still full of rendered duck fat from Friday’s searing (see previous post), I reheated it and gave the roast a good browning all around.

Having abandoned carpaccio, I put the meat in the oven for a bit to cook some more while I sliced and fried some potatoes in the same duck fat.

The meat came out looking good, and I sliced it fairly thinly to at least allude to the carpaccio I’m now sort of wishing I had made.

There was some leftover escarole-walnut pesto, so I dolloped it around with reckless insouciance, garnishing the platter with a nasturtium flower. And we tucked in. Given today’s heat, I truly can’t believe that I cooked all of this. And I have an industrial-strength hankering for carpaccio. But Saturday was cool, and roast beef and duck fat potatoes fit the bill. The cure gave the rounds of beef a salaciously salty crust and a rich herbal flavor. And the rest of the beef will be ready to hang in a day or so.

3 comments to Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

  • genevelyn

    Any chance we'll see your lardo recipe here, or have I missed it?

  • peter

    Get some good local pork back fat, nice and fresh. Pack well in sea salt with minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, and juniper berries in a pyrex baking dish or similar. Cover, and put in the back of the fridge for three months or more.

  • genevelyn

    Thank you. This is meant to happen. I found the pork back fat free on Craigslist (I trust the source) and will try this weekend.

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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