The Nasty Bits: How to Eat Bone Marrow

Chichi Wang

This is bone marrow, cut the long way so the marrow lays fully exposed. I prefer my bones to be cut this way to allow full access to the interior. And once the roasted marrow is all gone, you can go back into the bone with a piece of crusty bread and soak up all the residual browned bits of marrow and fat.

For roasted bone marrow, you can either tame it or go along with it, and nothing in between. Bone marrow is such a stand-out ingredient. You can't just throw it on a plate, and pretend like it's any old cut. Either contrast it with acidic and refreshing flavors or accent its fattiness with something even richer. Of course, you can even mix and match the rich/acidic elements. Just don't let it get too fussy.

Here are six tips for how to eat roasted bone marrow:

Shallot and currant confit.
  1. Coat in flour or breadcrumbs. This is not so much a flavor pairing as a note on preparation. Coated, the marrow's surface will be crispy and golden, a meaty crème brulee of sorts.
  2. Pair it with a small, sharp, salad. Probably the most well-known accompaniment is parsley salad, popularized by chef Fergus Henderson. Parsley tossed in olive oil and lemon, with capers thrown into the mix has everything you need if your aim is to contrast the marrow - the acidity of the lemon and capers, the herbaceousness of the parsley, all undercut its richness. Use other bitter or assertive greens besides parsley such as watercress and arugula, and pair with thinly sliced radishes.
  3. Onion, shallot or garlic confit. Or onion, shallot, or garlic marmalade. A jam-like aromatic is great to have on hand for a number of things, not just marrow.
  4. Flavored butter. Butter the marrow before roasting. Herb butter is nice, but I love roasted marrow paired with anchovy butter. Or, coat with flour and drizzle with the butter for a crispy coating that holds in marrow's natural richness.
  5. Glazing. Glaze the marrow before roasting. I like a glaze of miso, mirin and soy sauce on my tofu, and I like it almost as much on my marrow.
  6. Blue cheese. At first I was skeptical, but a friend suggested that I try the marrow smothered and roasted with blue cheese. Paired with shallot confit, the blue cheese and marrow on toast was rich and satisfying.

Or, just roast the darn bones and spread the fatty goodness on toast. But I would not say no to any of these ways to gussy up marrow.