Lardo in the Style of Colonnata

5% kosher salt

0.25% cure #2, optional

1% black pepper                                 

0.4% minced garlic                

0.2% rosemary needles          

0.03% cinnamon                                

0.03% cloves                                      

0.03% ground star anise

100% skinned fatback

 

Blend together the salt, cure #2, if desired, and flavorings. Rub the salt mixture all over the fatback. Only a portion of the salt mixture will adhere. Transfer to a vacuum sealer bag, spreading the loose salt mixture as evenly as possible over the fatback, and vacuum seal. Refrigerate, top with a weight if a uniform shape is desired, and let cure for 3 weeks (or longer if it’s convenient—lardo can be left in the bag with the cure for weeks or months without compromise or change). Rinse the lardo, pat dry with paper towels, and dry on a rack in the refrigerator overnight.

 

For use, slice the lardo as needed and keep vacuum sealed in a clean vacuum sealer bag in the refrigerator. Lardo stored in this manner will keep for many months. Light can cause lardo to turn yellow and rancid, but that shouldn’t be an issue since it’s dark in the refrigerator when the door’s shut. Cut the lardo into paper-thin slices and serve on slabs of rustic bread or as a part of a salumi platter. Wrap slices around asparagus spears, shrimp, or sea scallops for the grill. Drape slices over pizza fresh out of the oven. Dice small and use instead of pancetta or bacon in tomato-based pasta sauces and ragus. Render and use for fried potatoes. If you have homemade lardo in your refrigerator, doubtless you’ll think of a myriad of ways to use it.

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