Bone marrow is awesome.
Bone marrow is basically meat butter. It this smooth, glistening fat with a hit of pure beef flavor. You know the smell of a steak searing on a red-hot griddle? It’s kind of like that. Marrow holds a special place in my heart because it reminds me of pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) since pho is made from bones.
I labeled bone marrow bones as an appetizer even though I always, always eat this as a meal, with a crusty baguette and a sharp and acidic herb salad.
Another plus? Bones are very cheap. Roasting them is ri-di-cu-lous-ly easy and quick.
A con: Some people are weirdly put off by marrow, and it is messy to eat. This may not be the dish to serve at a dinner party with finicky eaters.
Secret plus: It only means more (more more!) bone marrow for us!
- 4 or so beef (or other big animal) bones, cross-cut, in 3- or 4-inch hunks (if you can find bones split down the center or would like to ask your butcher to cut it that way, go for it!)
- 1 bundle (a cup) of parsley or cilantro leaves, lightly chopped
- 2 shallots (or half a yellow onion), thinly sliced
- 1/2 lemon (or a lime)
- Kosher or sea salt, to sprinkle on each serving
- A crusty and chewy baguette
- Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a cast iron skillet with foil and place stand up bones on the sheet, spaced evenly. Once the oven is preheated, place the pan in the oven and let the bones roast for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, flip the bones over so the other ends are facing up. Roast for another 10 minutes.
- While the bones are roasting, prepare the herb salad by combining the parsley/cilantro with the sliced shallots. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the mixture and lightly toss.
- While the bones are roasting, toss in the baguette and let it crisp up over the course of 5 minutes. Slicing the baguette (and creating toast slices) is optional. I like toasting the whole baguette myself.
- Done! Serve the hot bones directly from the skillet. Arm yourself and your dinner mates with a butter knife (or a marrow spoon if you’re that fancy). Scoop out a little bit of marrow from the bones, smear on a piece of bread, sprinkle on a decent amount of salt (to taste), top with some salad, and mow it down. Don’t forget to sop up the marrow in the bottom of the skillet with bread.
Other recipes tell you to salt the bones. I don’t see much point in this, as only the outermost surface gets salted. It’s better for diners to salt to taste. I also don’t season the salad, as I think it’s preemptively redundant (if that makes any sense!). Some recipes have you add an olive oil to the salad. I don’t think this is necessary either, as the marrow adds the fat element quite nicely. An olive oil muddies the marrow flavor, I think. I also prefer not to cut my bread into slices, as I like the rip of hunks of bread and smear marrow in the soft nooks and crannies. But do what you like!