St John bone marrow salad
ST JOHN BONE MARROW SALAD
12 x 7-8cm pieces of middle veal marrowbone
a healthy bunch of flat-leaf parsley, picked from its stems
2 shallots, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 modest handful of capers (extra-fine if possible)
juice of one lemon
extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of sea salt and pepper
a good supply of toast
coarse sea salt
In Fergus Henderson's own words: "This is the one dish that does not change on the menu at St John. You will need teaspoons or long, thin implements to scrape your marrow out of the bone. "Do you recall eating Sultana Bran for breakfast? The sultana to bran-flake ratio was always a huge anxiety, to a point, sometimes, that one was tempted to add extra sultanas, which inevitably resulted in too many sultanas, and one lost that pleasure of discovering the occasional sweet chewiness in contrast to the branny crunch. With administering such things as capers, it is very good to remember Sultana Bran."
- Put the bone marrow in an ovenproof frying pan and place in a hot oven. The roasting process should take about 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bone. You are looking for the marrow to be loose and giving, but not melted away, which it will do if left too long (traditionally, the ends would be covered to prevent any seepage, but I like the colouring and crispness at the end).
- Meanwhile, lightly chop your parsley, just enough to discipline it, mix it with the shallots and capers, and at the last moment, dress.
- Here is a dish that should not be completely seasoned before leaving the kitchen ... A last-minute seasoning ... by the actual eater ... especially in the case of coarse sea salt, gives texture and uplift at the moment of eating. My approach is to scrape the marrow from the bone on to the toast and season with coarse sea salt. Then a pinch of parsley salad on top of this and eat. Of course, once you have your pile of bones, salad, toast and salt, it is "liberty hall".