While cleaning out the fridge the other day I came across a package of white gold tucked away in the ‘cheese’ drawer. A luscious 250 grams of vacuum-sealed lardo from our trip to Tuscany. Christmas in July!
For the uninitiated, lardo is cured fat. A big thick piece of back fat is packed in a salt cure and left to age for 6 months. The result is…well…a beautiful piece of deliciously salty fat. One day I’ll make some. Lardo is typically served with charcuterie like prosciutto and salami but I think one of the best ways to serve it sliced very thin and put on top of some toasted bread which melts the fat a little. So good. I had another plan for a portion of this chunk though.
When we were in Tuscany last fall we had a very simple dish at one lunch. Ceci e lardo. Warm chick peas and lardo drizzled with good olive oil and seasoned with rosemary. When I saw that brick of lardo I knew the first thing I’d make with it was that dish. Ok, no, sorry, the first thing I actually did with it was slice some off and eat.
While I’d say this is a perfect fall dish I really think it is good any time of the year. Fresh rosemary from the herb garden is just enough to qualify it for a summer side dish. There’s no need to season with anything but olive oil and rosemary, the salty and herb seasoned lardo takes care of the rest. The flavors of everything mixed together is wonderful. Earthy, salty, savory, filling.
Chick peas with lardo is ridiculously easy and quick to prepare, about 5 minutes if you have some cooked chick peas. Seriously, make this one and you’ll love chick peas.
Chick Peas with Lardo
- 2 C cooked chick peas
- 2 oz lardo, diced
- 1-2 tsp Rosemary
- Olive oil (the good stuff)
Heat a large pan over high heat. Add the diced lardo for a quick sear and stir around.
When the fat starts to melt just a little bit and coat the pan add the chick peas.
Cook and stir until heated through.
Season with rosemary, spoon into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil.
I’ve never used it! Would it be similar to rendered Pancetta?
Hmm, not really. It’s just a big hunk of salted and cured fat so more like raw, cured pancetta. But just as, if not more, delicious.