In North America, a taste for bitterness often goes uncelebrated. But in her book Bitter, Jennifer McLagan finds the beauty in it.
Horseradish cuts the fat of the bone marrow and makes it taste sweeter. It is important to use fresh horseradish for this recipe. Grate it finely just before serving so it retains all its pungency. Use a microplane grater to give the horseradish a light, fluffy texture. Make sure you buy marrow bones cut from the center of the leg bone, so the marrow is accessible from both ends of the bone and the marrow-to-bone ratio is highest. Four bones should yield about 7 ounces of marrow; if you have a little more or less it’s not a problem.
- Leave the marrow bones on the kitchen counter at room temperature for about 15 minutes; the marrow should just begin to soften slightly. Now run a small, flexible knife between the marrow and the bone at each end, to free the marrow from the bone as much as possible. Pick up the bone and, using your thumb, push the marrow from the narrow end toward the wide end out of the bone. Don’t start at the wide end. The marrow will be soft and will tend to squish under the force of your thumb, but persist and eventually the marrow will emerge from the bone in one piece. Place the marrow pieces in a bowl of ice water, add some coarse salt, and refrigerate for a few hours to remove the blood. (You can leave it refrigerated overnight.)
- Drain the marrow, place in a small bowl, and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes. Preheat the broiler to high.
- Toast the bread on one side. Spread the marrow evenly over the untoasted sides of the bread and place on a rimmed baking sheet; some of the marrow will melt and liquefy. Broil until just melted and warm. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the grated horseradish and fleur de sel. Serve as is, or with a bitter green salad.
Reprinted with permission from Bitter copyright © 2014 by Jennifer McLagan. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC