How to Make Lardo: A Step-by-Step Guide

Lardo is a delicious Italian cured fat that has been a staple in Italian cuisine for centuries. It is made by curing and drying back fat mixed with salt and fresh herbs using a salt box method. Lardo is aged for at least six months, which draws out the moisture and creates a surface that prevents it from spoiling.

The origins of lardo can be traced back to the town of Colonnata in Tuscany, Italy, where it was first made in the 15th century. The town is located in the Apuan Alps, which is known for its marble quarries. The marble was used to create the salt boxes that were used to cure the lardo. Today, lardo is still made in Colonnata using the same traditional methods that have been passed down for generations.

Making lardo at home is a simple and rewarding process that requires only a few ingredients and some patience. In this article, we will go over the ingredients needed, the process of making lardo, and how to age and store it. We will also provide some serving suggestions and pairings to help you enjoy this delicious Italian delicacy.

Key Takeaways

  • Lardo is a cured Italian fat that has been a staple in Italian cuisine for centuries.
  • The origins of lardo can be traced back to the town of Colonnata in Tuscany, Italy.
  • Making lardo at home is a simple and rewarding process that requires only a few ingredients and some patience.

Piero’s Recipe from the video:

  • Thick Pork Fat (from the shoulder or loin of pork but any large piece is fine)
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Peppercorn
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary
  • 5 Cloves
  • 4 Bulbs of Garlic
  • 10 Bay Leaves
  • 200g Sea Salt
  • 250g Fine Sea Salt
  • 800ml Water
  • Fresh Herbs – Rosemary, Thyme and Marjoram
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What is Lardo

Lardo is a type of cured pork fat that originates from Italy. It is made from the back fat of pigs, also known as fatback, and is cured with a mixture of salt, herbs, and spices. The curing process takes several months and results in a rich, creamy, and flavorful product.

Lardo is a traditional ingredient in Italian cuisine, especially in the Tuscan region of Italy. The most famous variety is Lardo di Colonnata, which is made in the small town of Colonnata using a specific curing process and local ingredients.

Lardo is high in both saturated and monounsaturated fat, which gives it a creamy texture and rich flavor. It is typically sliced thinly and served as a topping or ingredient in dishes such as pasta, bread, and charcuterie boards.

While Lardo is a delicious and traditional ingredient in Italian cuisine, it is important to consume it in moderation due to its high fat content. However, when enjoyed as part of a balanced diet, Lardo can be a flavorful addition to any meal.

The Origins of Lardo

Lardo is a popular Italian cured meat that has been enjoyed for centuries. Its origins can be traced back to the small Tuscan town of Colonnata, located in the Apuan Alps of Italy.

The town’s unique geography and climate made it an ideal location for curing meats. The local marble quarries provided the perfect environment for aging meats, as the porous stone absorbed moisture and helped regulate humidity levels. The cool, dry mountain air also aided in the curing process.

While the exact origin of lardo is unknown, it is believed to have been developed by the local miners who needed a way to preserve their pork. They would season the pork fat with salt, herbs, and spices, and then bury it in the marble quarries to cure.

Today, lardo is still made using traditional methods in Colonnata. The pork fat is seasoned with a mixture of salt, garlic, rosemary, and other herbs, and then aged in marble boxes for several months. The resulting product is a delicate, buttery meat that is often served thinly sliced on bread or used as a flavoring in pasta dishes.

Lardo has become a staple of Italian cuisine and is enjoyed by food lovers all over the world. Its unique flavor and texture make it a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Whether enjoyed on its own or used as a seasoning, lardo is a true culinary delight that is deeply rooted in Italian tradition.

Ingredients Needed

To make lardo, the following ingredients are needed:

  • Lard: The main ingredient in lardo is high-quality pork fat, also known as lard. It is important to use fresh, unsalted lard for the best results.
  • Salt: Salt is a crucial ingredient in curing the lardo. It draws out moisture and helps to preserve the meat. Kosher or sea salt is recommended.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic can be added to the curing mixture for flavor. It is usually crushed or minced and mixed with the salt and other spices.
  • Pepper: Both black and white pepper can be used in the curing mixture to add flavor and depth.
  • Rosemary: Fresh rosemary is a traditional herb used in lardo. It adds a fragrant, earthy flavor to the meat.
  • Other Spices and Herbs: Other spices and herbs can be added to the curing mixture to enhance the flavor of the lardo. Juniper berries, coriander, anise, and sage are all popular choices.
  • Sugar: A small amount of sugar can be added to the curing mixture to balance out the saltiness and enhance the flavor.
  • Olive Oil: After the lardo is cured, it can be stored in olive oil to prevent it from drying out.
  • Starchy Vegetable: Some recipes call for the use of a starchy vegetable, such as potatoes or bread, to help draw out moisture from the lardo during the curing process.
  • Black Peppercorns: Whole black peppercorns can be added to the curing mixture for an extra burst of flavor.
  • Sea Salt: Sea salt can be used instead of kosher salt for a more complex flavor.

Overall, the ingredients for making lardo are simple and easy to find. It is important to use high-quality ingredients for the best results.

Nutritional Information

Lardo is a cured pork fat that is high in calories and fat. It is not a low-calorie food and should be consumed in moderation. However, it does have some nutritional value.

One serving of Lardo (1 ounce) contains approximately 150 calories, 15 grams of fat, and 4 grams of protein. It is also a good source of iron, with 3% of the recommended daily value per serving.

Lardo is high in saturated fat, which can increase cholesterol levels. One serving of Lardo contains approximately 5 grams of saturated fat, which is about 25% of the recommended daily intake.

Lardo does not contain any carbohydrates or fiber, but it does contain small amounts of sodium and potassium.

It is important to note that Lardo is not a good source of vitamins or minerals. It does not contain any vitamin A, vitamin C, or calcium.

Overall, Lardo should be consumed in moderation due to its high calorie and fat content. It is not a low-calorie food and should not be consumed in large quantities.

The Process of Making Lardo

Making lardo is a simple but time-consuming process that requires some patience and attention to detail. The following steps outline the general process for making lardo.

Step 1: Prepare the Pork Fat

To make lardo, you will need a piece of pork fatback, which is the layer of fat that runs along the back of the pig. The fat should be fresh and free of any meat or blood. You can ask your local butcher for a piece of pork fatback or buy it online.

Once you have the pork fat, remove any skin or rind from the surface and trim it into a rectangular shape. You can also cut the fat into smaller pieces if you prefer.

Step 2: Cure the Pork Fat

To cure the pork fat, you will need a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices. You can use any spices you like, such as black pepper, garlic, rosemary, or thyme.

Rub the mixture all over the pork fat, making sure to coat it evenly on all sides. Place the fat in a container and cover it with a lid. You can also wrap it in plastic wrap or place it in a ziplock bag.

Put the container in the fridge and let it cure for at least a week. During this time, the salt will draw out the moisture from the fat, preserving it and creating a unique flavor.

Step 3: Dry Cure the Pork Fat

After the pork fat has been cured with salt, it’s time to dry cure it. This process involves hanging the fat in a cool, dry place for several weeks or months until it has dried out and developed a firm texture.

To dry cure the pork fat, tie a string around it and hang it in a cool, dry place such as a basement or refrigerator. The temperature should be around 50-60°F (10-15°C) and the humidity should be low.

Check the pork fat regularly to make sure it is drying evenly and not developing any mold. After a few weeks or months, the fat should be firm to the touch and have a translucent appearance.

Step 4: Render the Lardo

Once the pork fat has been dry cured, it’s time to render it into lardo. This involves melting the fat and straining out any solids.

To render the lardo, cut the fat into small pieces and place them in a large pot or Dutch oven. Cook the fat over low heat until it has melted and turned into liquid. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove any solids.

Pour the liquid lardo into jars or containers and let it cool to room temperature. You can store the lardo in the fridge for several months or freeze it for longer storage.

Conclusion

Making lardo is a simple but rewarding process that requires some time and patience. By following these steps, you can create your own delicious lardo that can be used in a variety of dishes.

Aging and Storing Lardo

Once the curing process is complete, the Lardo needs to be aged and stored properly to ensure it retains its flavor and texture.

Many people prefer to age Lardo in marble boxes, as the cool, damp environment helps to preserve the delicate flavor of the cured pork fat. The boxes should be kept in a cool, dark place, such as a cellar or basement, with a consistent temperature of around 50-60°F (10-15°C) and a humidity level of around 60-70%.

However, it is also possible to age Lardo in a refrigerator. The Lardo should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for at least 6 months. It is important to note that the Lardo may absorb other flavors from the fridge, so it is recommended to store it in a separate container or drawer.

When it comes to storing Lardo, it is best to keep it in a glass container or wrapped in parchment paper. This will prevent any unwanted flavors from seeping into the Lardo, while also allowing you to see how much you have left.

It is important to note that Lardo will continue to age and develop flavor over time. Some people prefer to eat it fresh, while others enjoy the more intense flavor that comes with aging. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

In summary, Lardo should be aged in a cool, damp environment with a consistent temperature and humidity level. It can be aged in a marble box or in a refrigerator, but should be stored in a glass container or wrapped in parchment paper to prevent unwanted flavors from seeping in.

Serving Suggestions

Lardo is a versatile ingredient that can add flavor and texture to a variety of dishes. Here are some serving suggestions to help you get the most out of your lardo:

Appetizers

Lardo can be served as part of an antipasti platter, sliced thinly and arranged on a plate with other cured meats, cheeses, olives, and bread. It can also be used to flavor crostini or bruschetta, adding a rich, savory taste to these classic Italian appetizers.

Pasta

Lardo can be used to flavor pasta dishes, adding a luxurious richness to the sauce. Simply melt a few thin slices of lardo in a pan with some olive oil and garlic, then toss with cooked pasta and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for a simple yet satisfying meal.

Pizza

Lardo can be used as a topping for pizza, adding a decadent touch to this classic dish. Simply slice the lardo thinly and arrange it on top of the pizza before baking. The heat of the oven will melt the lardo and infuse the pizza with its rich flavor.

Bread

Lardo can be spread on bread as a flavorful alternative to butter or olive oil. Simply whip the lardo in a food processor until it is light and fluffy, then spread it on a slice of warm bread. The lardo will melt slightly, creating a rich, indulgent spread.

Charcuterie Platters

Lardo is a classic ingredient in charcuterie platters, adding a unique texture and flavor to the selection of cured meats. Arrange thin slices of lardo on a platter with other cured meats, cheeses, and olives for a sophisticated appetizer or snack.

Overall, lardo is a versatile ingredient that can add flavor and richness to a variety of dishes. Whether you use it to flavor pasta, spread on bread, or as part of a charcuterie platter, lardo is sure to impress with its unique taste and texture.

Pairings and Combinations

Lardo is a versatile ingredient that can be paired with a variety of foods to create delicious combinations. Here are some ideas for pairing Lardo with other foods:

Bread and Crackers

Lardo is a great addition to bread and crackers. It can be spread on top of bread or crackers to add a rich, savory flavor. It pairs well with crusty bread, sourdough, and crackers with a bit of salt.

Vegetables

Lardo can be used to add flavor to vegetables. It pairs particularly well with roasted vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, and potatoes. Lardo can also be used to add flavor to sautéed greens, such as kale or spinach.

Charcuterie

Lardo is a popular ingredient in Italian charcuterie boards. It pairs well with other cured meats, such as salami, prosciutto, and Italian salumi. When paired with other cured meats, Lardo adds a rich, umami flavor.

Spices and Herbs

Lardo can be seasoned with a variety of spices and herbs to add extra flavor. Black pepper, rosemary, thyme, and oregano are all popular seasonings for Lardo. Bay leaves can also be added to the curing process to add additional flavor.

Almonds

Lardo can be wrapped around almonds to create a delicious appetizer. The rich, savory flavor of the Lardo pairs well with the nuttiness of the almonds.

Pork Belly and Pancetta

Lardo is made from pork fat, so it pairs well with other pork products, such as pork belly and pancetta. When used together, they create a rich, savory flavor that is perfect for pasta dishes or as a topping for pizza.

Kosher Salt

Kosher salt is an important ingredient in the curing process for Lardo. It draws moisture out of the pork fat and creates a surface that prevents it from spoiling. Make sure to use kosher salt when making Lardo to ensure the best results.

Overall, Lardo is a versatile and delicious ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways. Whether it’s spread on bread, paired with vegetables, or used in a charcuterie board, Lardo adds a rich, savory flavor to any dish.

Buying Lardo

When it comes to buying Lardo, there are a few things to keep in mind. Lardo is a specialty item and may not be available at your local grocery store. However, it can be found at specialty food stores or online retailers.

If you are in the United States, it is important to note that Lardo is not as commonly found as it is in Italy. However, there are still options available. Some Italian specialty stores or butchers may carry Lardo, or it can be ordered online.

It is important to consider the source of the Lardo as well. If you are looking for a kosher option, be sure to check that the Lardo is certified kosher. Additionally, if you are concerned about hormones or antibiotics, look for Lardo from animals that were raised without the use of these substances.

When buying Lardo, it is also important to consider the quality of the product. Look for Lardo that is firm and has a clean, white color. Avoid any Lardo that has a yellowish tint or appears greasy.

Overall, buying Lardo can be a bit of a challenge, but with a little effort, it is possible to find a high-quality product that will elevate any dish.

Common Misconceptions

Despite its delicious flavor and creamy texture, Lardo has been subject to several misconceptions. Here are some of the most common ones:

Lardo is just another word for lard

Although Lardo and Lard are both made from pig fat, they are not the same thing. Lard is rendered pig fat that is usually used for cooking and baking. On the other hand, Lardo is cured pig fat that is usually eaten raw as a delicacy. The curing process gives Lardo its distinct flavor and texture, which sets it apart from lard.

Lardo is unhealthy because it is high in saturated fat and cholesterol

While it is true that Lardo is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, it is not necessarily unhealthy when consumed in moderation. In fact, some studies have shown that moderate consumption of saturated fat may not be as harmful as previously thought. Additionally, Lardo is a good source of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also found in olive oil and has been linked to several health benefits.

Lardo is rancid and unsafe to eat

Contrary to popular belief, Lardo is not rancid but rather has a distinct aroma and flavor that comes from the curing process. The curing process involves rubbing the pig fat with a mixture of salt, herbs, and spices, which helps to preserve the fat and prevent it from spoiling. When properly cured, Lardo can last for up to six months and is safe to eat.

Lardo is too rich and unctuous to enjoy

While Lardo is certainly rich and silky in texture, it can still be enjoyed in moderation. Its unique flavor and texture make it a popular ingredient in many Italian dishes, such as pasta and pizza. Additionally, Lardo can be sliced thinly and served as a charcuterie board, paired with bread and wine for a decadent appetizer.

In conclusion, Lardo is a delicious and versatile ingredient that has been subject to several misconceptions. By understanding the facts about Lardo, you can enjoy this delicacy in moderation and appreciate its unique flavor and texture.

Lardo vs Other Cured Meats

When it comes to cured meats, Lardo stands out among the rest. While it shares similarities with other Italian charcuterie, such as pancetta, prosciutto, guanciale, and salami, Lardo has a unique flavor and texture that sets it apart.

Lardo is made from the fatback of the pig, which is cured with salt and spices for several months. Unlike other cured meats, Lardo is not smoked or cooked, which gives it a smooth, buttery texture that melts in your mouth.

Compared to bacon, which is also made from pork belly, Lardo has a milder flavor and is not as salty. Prosciutto and other cured hams are made from the hind leg of the pig and have a drier texture. Guanciale is made from the jowls of the pig and has a strong, porky flavor that is often used in pasta dishes.

Salami is another type of Italian salumi that is made from ground meat, usually pork, that is cured and fermented. While Lardo is not a type of salami, it is often served alongside other cured meats as part of an antipasto platter.

Overall, Lardo’s unique flavor and texture make it a standout among other cured meats. Its smooth, buttery texture and mild flavor make it a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide range of dishes, from pasta to pizza to sandwiches.

Lardo

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you use whipped lardo?

Whipped lardo is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways. It can be spread on bread, used as a dip for vegetables, or added to pasta dishes for a rich and savory flavor. Whipped lardo can also be used as a replacement for butter or oil in recipes, adding a unique depth of flavor to baked goods and other dishes.

What is the difference between lard and lardo?

Lard and lardo are both made from pig fat, but they are prepared differently and have distinct flavors. Lard is made by rendering pig fat, while lardo is made by curing and aging the fat. Lardo has a delicate, nutty flavor and a silky texture, while lard has a more neutral flavor and a firmer texture.

What is lardo in Italian cooking?

Lardo is a prized ingredient in Italian cuisine, particularly in the region of Tuscany. It is often used as a flavoring agent in pasta dishes, soups, and stews, or served on its own as an antipasto. Lardo is also used to flavor roasted meats and vegetables, and is a popular ingredient in charcuterie boards.

Where can you buy sliced lardo?

Sliced lardo can be found at specialty food stores and Italian markets. It can also be purchased online from a variety of retailers. When buying sliced lardo, look for high-quality products that are made from premium ingredients and have been aged for at least six months.

Does lardo need to be cooked?

Lardo is a cured meat product and does not need to be cooked before eating. However, it is often used as a flavoring agent in cooked dishes, such as pasta sauces and stews.

How do you cook with lardo?

Lardo can be used in a variety of ways in cooking. It can be melted and used as a cooking fat for sautéing vegetables or meats, or added to sauces for extra flavor. Lardo can also be used to flavor roasted meats and vegetables, or added to soups and stews for a rich and savory flavor. When using lardo in cooking, it is important to keep in mind that it is a high-fat ingredient and should be used in moderation.

Do you have other Charcuterie Videos?

Yes! we do, here is a list:
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Step by Step Cured ROLLED PANCETTA

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Cooking With An Italian

Ciao I am Piero coming all the way from Puglia Italy. I created this site to bring my love of food to all, hope you enjoy.