Beef Bone-Marrow: Removing Excess Blood, Scooping The Marrow Out, A Single Light, 350 Degrees For 20 Minutes, And An Egg.

Up above an appropriate memento mori from Pieter Claesz (1628).  Below, my beaten-up copy of Larousse Gastronomique under BONE-MARROW (Moelle) lists seven recipes:


Beef bone-marrow (Moelle de boeuf).  The marrow, cut into fairly thick slices (using a knife dipped in boiling water), poached without boiling in salt water and drained, is used to garnish steaks.  Bone-marrow canapés (Canapés à la moelle).  Spread the marrow on neat slices of toast.  Season these canapés with salt and freshly-ground pepper.  Bone-marrow on fried bread (Croûtes à la moelle).  Made with hollowed-out crusts of sandwich loaf fried in butter like canapés.  Bone-marrow fritots (Fritots à la moelle).  Cut the beef marrow into slices.  Stick these slices together in pairs with some kind of forcemeat (preferably à gratin).  Steep them for 20 minutes in oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and chopped parsley.  Salpicon of bone marrow (Salpicon de moelle). Dice the marrow more or less finely as required.  Poach without brining to a boil.  Blend with Demi-glace sauce, flavored if desired with shallot cooked in white wine until all the liquid has evaporated.  Bone-marrow sauce (Sauce à la moelle).  A sauce served with meat, grilled or sautéed fish and poached or coddled eggs.  Small vol-au-vents with bone-marrow (Bouchées à la moelle). Small flaky pastry vol-au-vent filled while hot with a salpicon of beef bone-marrow blended with demi-glace sauce, flavored if desired with a little shallot cooked in white wine until all the liquid has evaporated.


The entry in The Professional Chef published by Culinary Institute of America reads, Marrow–the soft inner substance of bones–is often used as a garnish for soups, sauces, and other dishes.  Certain bones, known as marrow bones, have a significant amount of marrow that is relatively easy to remove using the following technique: Submerge the marrow bones in cold, salted water for a few hours to remove the excess blood and impurities.  After they have soaked, push the marrow out with your thumb.


One night Magnus Nilsson at his restaurant Fäviken (216, 830 05 Järpen, Sweden, which means you fly to Stockholm and then take another plane or a train to Jarpen, and then a cab or car for another 10 miles out into the wild, where you’ll be 200 or so miles from the Arctic Circle) may serve Roasted bone marrow and dices of raw heart from moose, very recently sliced cabbage, grilled bread and herb salt.  Another night, he’ll offer Marrow and heart with grated turnip and turnip leaves that have never seen the light of day, grilled bread and lovage salt.  This particular recipe includes the following directions:

Place the femur on the grill, resting it directly above the glowing coals.  Treat out like a piece of meat and cook it accordingly  It should be medium rare when finished.  The difficult part here is that with a steak you can touch it, and use other techniques in your assessment of the degree of cooking.  In this case, because the bone surrounding the marrow keeps it mostly out of sight, you will have to feel its temperature, visually checking the marrow at the cut ends, and smelling it instead.

Carry the bone into the dining room and place it on a chopping block in front of the diners.  Split it in two with a sharp saw and scoop the marrow out with a spoon straight into a preheated ceramic bowl, quickly removing any blood vessels, pieces of bone or other unwanted parts.

And here the master saws and prepares.

Time for a poem.  Charles Simic, Butcher Shop.

Sometimes walking late at night

I stop before a closed butcher shop.

There is a single light in the store

Like the light in which the convict digs his tunnel.


An apron hangs on the hook:

The blood on it smeared into a map

Of the great continents of blood,

The great rivers and oceans of blood.


There are knives that glitter like altars

In a dark church

Where they bring the cripple and the imbecile

To be healed.


There is a wooden block where bones are broken,

Scraped clean–a river dried to its bed

Where I am fed,

Where deep in the night I hear a voice.



Why yes, six beef marrow-bones from Revival Farms.  Time to put them in the oven set at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


Oh yes, they are ready to leave the oven and enter our bloodstream.


So, on tonight’s menu:

Roasted beef marrow-bones

Roasted eggplant and garlic in a chicken, corn, tomato sauce topped with kale sautéed in cane-cured bacon (Revival) and diced yellow onion

Watermelon, purslane, green leaf salad with a olive oil, mustard vinaigrette (Gabriela’s specialty)


Look at that spoonful of good fat.  It jiggles, pulses, calls to me.


And yes, the boy sampled his first marrow . . . and he liked it.


Done with the marrow, Gabriela gnaws on the bone.  End scene.

Even more interested in bone-marrow now?  Then read this recent article from The Salt on the wonderful world of bone-marrow.


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