One of the recipes I was given to test for the Recipes and Ramblings Cookbook was called “Lovely Bones”. It’s a dish of roasted bone marrow with a radish salad, served with some warm sourdough bread. And it was pretty remarkable. The flavours and textures all worked really well together. Lance and I devoured the dish eagerly! However, on the recommendation of a butcher, I bought whole bone marrow shaft pieces instead of cut in half lengthwise to make flat, open pieces. And it was really, really messy to eat. And I’m a grub to start with. It wasn’t really the type of meal you could eat in polite company, but it was designed to be a shared entrée. It's so dramatic being served marrow in the bone like that! So, I recommend trying that recipe by getting the cookbook. (It's available at Fresh Provisions, Beaufort St Books and Planet Books)
I had 6 pieces of marrow bone leftover after making that dish and knowing that Lance probably didn’t want to be up to his elbows in marrow juices again, I thought I would change things up a bit. I’ve still kept some of the original flavours of lemon, parsley, smoked paprika and garlic, but I’ve changed it into a pesto-style spread. Much more polite to eat in mixed company and so delicious. The rich oiliness of the bone marrow means you don’t need to add the traditional olive oil or nuts to the pesto. And you can remove the marrow much more cleanly in your kitchen than at a dinner table. I used a fondue fork to poke in and around the hole to remove the marrow as I don’t have a marrow spoon (and, in fact, didn’t know that such a thing even existed until very recently!)
Bone Marrow Pesto Spread
(adapted from Lovely Bones in Recipes and Ramblings Volume 3)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
Sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste ( a good pinch of each)
2 bunches parsley, with the big part of the stalk removed
Juice of one lemon
¼ tsp hot English mustard
½ tbsp. capers
Sourdough to serve
In a small casserole dish, place the bone marrow shafts with the holes facing up. Mix the minced garlic, smoked paprika, a good pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the bone pieces. Pop in the oven.
In a food processor, blitz the parsley, lemon juice, mustard and capers until quite finely chopped but still some texture to it. You might need to scrape down the sides of your processor a few times.
When the bone marrow starts to pull away from the sides of the bone, after around 20 minutes, remove from the oven and place the sourdough loaf in to warm up.
Using a fondue fork or other long thing implement, poke out all of the marrow into the casserole dish, getting all of the flavoured garlic too. Discard the bones.
Add all of the parsley mixture into the casserole dish with the marrow, and mix well with a fork, breaking the marrow up. This should be enough to warm through the whole spread.
Check for seasoning.