Like so many of Europe’s culinary traditions, it took quite some time before roasted bone marrow started appearing on mainstream menus in the United States (in the more food-enlightened cities, anyway). The temptation is to point to the farm-to-table movement for bone marrow’s rise in popularity. But perhaps, the nose-to-tail ethic, which leaves almost no body part left uneaten, is more appropiate. Whatever the reason, this method of utilizing a meat source right down to the marrow seems more than just a passing foodie fad.
Marrow has been on the menu at Porter House Bar and Grill in Manhattan ever since Chef Michael Lomonaco opened up this high-end steakhouse back in 2006. He serves it in the long—a cow femur split vertically down the middle, roasted and then garnished according to season or whim. So, how do you eat it? The most common way is to spread the marrow over toasted bread as you would a fine foie gras or butter. It conveys the beefy, nutty qualities of an aged steak, with a silky, custard-like consistency. If you can’t find a restaurant near you that serves marrow, home preparation is fairly simple, provided your local butcher will provide you with the bones already split by a bandsaw.
After sprinkling with coarse sea salt, place the split bones marrow-side up in an oven preheated to 450 degrees and let them roast until the tops are browned, about 20 minutes or so. It’s important to serve them hot while the marrow is still soft. Also, resist the urge to garnish too heavily. The idea is to be a little adventurous and savor the marrow’s inherent unctuous qualities, not to obscure them with toppings.